Definition of 301 Status Code

A 301 status code is an HTTP response status code indicating that the requested URL has been permanently moved to another location. When a server returns a 301 status code in response to a request, it typically provides a new URL in the Location header, signaling where the client should direct its request.

In simpler terms, a 301 status code means “Moved Permanently.” When a web browser receives a 301 status code, it will automatically follow the redirect to the new URL provided by the server. Similarly, search engines recognize a 301 status code as a permanent move, and they will update their index to point to the new URL and transfer link equity.

Here are some key characteristics and uses of the 301 redirect, which produces the 301 status code:

  1. Permanent Move: It tells search engines and browsers that the resource has been moved permanently to a new location. This is in contrast to a 302 status code, which indicates a temporary move.

  2. SEO Friendly: When you change a URL, whether due to rebranding, restructuring, or any other reason, you don’t want to lose the search engine ranking that the original URL might have achieved. A 301 redirect helps in transferring the link equity (or “link juice”) from the old URL to the new one.

  3. Transferring Link Equity: Backlinks pointing to a webpage can contribute to its search engine ranking. When using a 301 redirect, most of the link equity from the original URL is transferred to the new URL.

  4. Avoiding Duplicate Content: If the same content can be accessed via multiple URLs, search engines might treat them as duplicate content, which isn’t good for SEO. By using 301 redirects, you can consolidate multiple URLs to a single canonical version.

  5. Upgrading to HTTPS: When a website moves from HTTP to HTTPS, a 301 redirect is typically set up to ensure that users and search engines access the secure version of the site.

Overall, a 301 status code is a critical tool in the web developer’s and SEO professional’s toolkit, ensuring smooth transitions when URLs change and maintaining the integrity of web resources and their SERP ranking.

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