In a 301 redirect, a web page is moved permanently from one location to another.

301 refers to the HTTP status code of the redirected page.

Pages get removed and URLs change for many reasons, from deleting discontinued products to updating URLs that include dates.

As mentioned above, this is completely normal and can’t be avoided (although it’s not always the best idea to delete discontinued products).

However, if you simply change or delete a page without doing anything else, you will run into issues. In order to prevent visitors to that page from reaching a dead end on your site, a redirect needs to be in place.

In most cases, you will need to implement a 301 redirect.

Users (and search engines) are redirected to a new URL via a 301 redirect from a page that no longer exists. It is intended to be used when there is no plan to reverse the change.

Can You 301 Redirect, 404 Redirect or 410 a Page You Need to Remove?

404 and 410 errors are certainly not what users want to see. Neither of these are really what Google wants to find when crawling your website.

It is important to ask yourself if the page that you are deleting has an equivalent elsewhere on your site. Could the original URL be redirected to one that would make sense for the user to see if they clicked on it?

The best option is to implement a 301 redirect if the answer is yes.

On the other hand, if you haven’t received an answer, you’ll need to determine what steps to take.

This depends on why you are deleting the page in the first place.

If there is no alternative page to redirect to, the page needs to be deleted, and it won’t be coming back, then the best option would be to implement a 410 header to alert the browser and search engines that the page has been deleted.

If a 404 error occurs, that means the content cannot be located, whereas a 410 indicates a deletion.

Changing your domain name

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Sometimes businesses need to change their domain name for a variety of reasons.

As an example, they might be migrating from a TLD with a .com extension to a ccTLD with a extension, or they may have rebranded and require a domain name reflecting their new business name.

A 301 redirect is required when transferring domain names and should be accompanied by the ‘change of address’ tool in Google Search Console.

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