How to Use a 301 Redirect (and HTACCESS) for Website Domain or Webpage Forward Changes - Made Easy
How to Use a 301 Redirect (and HTACCESS) for Website Changes
If you want to make sure not to lose any of your search engine rankings when changing your domain name or even just removing pages on your website, you need to permanently redirect the old site/pages to the new site/pages.
There are several kinds of redirects that can be used, but the best one to use when permanently moving a site or webpages is called a 301 Redirect. Other kinds of redirects (like a 302) are often used by spammers to temporarily redirect visitors from one domain to another.
If you are redirecting your entire site from one domain to another, the easiest way to do the redirect is at your domain registrar.
How to 301 Redirect One Domain Name to Another
Redirecting an entire domain name is best done at the level of your registrar. Login to your account or domain manager at your registrar and look for an option that says "Forward" or Redirect.
At GoDaddy.com the settings you want are under "Forward" in your Domain Manager. You want to choose "Forward Domain."
You then get a dialogue box that has an option to input a new domain name to have your domain forward to. In the image, I have expanded the box to include the advanced options so you can see that the option you are choosing is called a Permanent Forward (aka Redirect.)
Click the images to see them full size.
How to Create a 301 HTACCESS Redirect file for Webpage Changes
My technical savvy is quite limited, but I do know some basic HTML. Below there are links to some other technical "How To" sites for creating HTACCESS files for different types of hosting environments and for dynamic page types.
However, for the most basic HTACCESS file, you can simply create a text file (using Notepad) with the filename .htaccess (leading period, no file extension, eg. no .txt or .htm at the end).
In the file you will have lines of code for each webpage you are redirecting, for example:
redirect 301 /Info/FAQ_entercc.htm http://www.askjoanne.com/Info/entercc.htm
301 Redirect .HTACCESS
The code above shows two separate lines in the .htaccess file. Each redirect should be on it's own line, with no spaces between lines, I separated them here to make them easier to read.
So, the first part of the line is the command "redirect 301"
Next is the file I want to redirect "/Info/FAQ_entercc.htm"
Next is the full URL of the place I want that file redirected to "http://www.askjoanne.com/Info/entercc.htm"
This file should then be uploaded to the main (root) directory of your website. An .htaccess file is in effect immediately, so you can check if your redirect is working by trying to go to the page you redirected from (eg. www.askjoanne.com/Info/FAQ_entercc.htm)
Check Your 301 Redirect for Search Engine Friendliness
There is also an online tool that allows you to check to see if your redirect is done in a way that is considered "Search Engine Friendly"