Why Redirect?

What is a redirect, and why should I use one?

Whenever you change a URL (the address of a web page) on your site, things can get tricky out there in Internet Land.

As you may know, URLs are very specific, like home addresses. When you move from one house to another, it’s important to let the post office know you’ve relocated. If you don’t, you’ll never get those important notices from the IRS … or that big check from Publisher’s Clearing House.

A forwarding address helps re-route your mail until all correspondence is naturally routed to the new location.

Whether you’ve moved, renamed, or deleted a page on your store’s website, you need to let search engines know where the new page can be found. This is called a 301 Redirect.

If you do not establish a 301 Redirect for a moved, renamed, or deleted page, the old page address will generate a 404 Error page. While not always avoidable, having your customers come across a 404 page in your online store is not an ideal user experience.

404 Errors are the problem. 301 Redirects are the answer.

Besides losing business, what are other disadvantages of not dealing with my 404 Errors?

One big concern is losing the link juice you’ve generated from the old link. “Link juice” is an SEO term that refers to the value or equity passed from one page or site to another. While a small amount of a page’s juice is lost every time you redirect it, it is much better than losing everything you’ve built over time.

Aren’t there other types of redirects, like 302s and 307s?

Yes, there are. While there are codes for different types of Redirects, BigCommerce is only concerned with one: the 301 Redirect. All other types are irrelevant for usage here.

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