March 4, 2024

What is Redirect Mapping?

If you are updating your website, and need to redirect a lot of pages you will need to create a redirect mapping document. If you aren’t sure where to start with this, we can help. We will explain how to create the document and why it’s important. So, let’s start with the basics – what is the function of a redirect?

A redirect re-routes users and search engines automatically away from one page to another. If you have an old webpage that you are deleting and want to send users and crawlers to a page with similar or new content, you would use a redirect for a seamless transition, and to keep your rankings stable.

Read on to learn more about redirect mapping and why it is important for your website and for your SEO. 

What is Redirect Mapping?

Redirect mapping is the process of identifying where an old page needs to be routed to on a new website.

For example:

An old page URL is labelled ‘/get-in-touch/’ and your new URL is ‘/contact-us/’.

You would want the old page to go to the new one once live, and for search engines to crawl and index the new URL seamlessly.

To map your URLs you would:

Creating an excel spreadsheet is a good way to store and sort through them. Having one column for old URLs and one for the new URLs side by side, you can then match the most relevant pages to each other. To help get you started, we created this handy template for you to use (just remember to make a copy before you use it!).

When Would You Need to Do Redirect Mapping?

Redirect mapping would need to be done when you have a large number of URLs changing, such as website migrations where URLs are changing and the domain changes. In the case of a new website it would be ideal to do this before the website goes live. You could also make amends to new URLs before they go live if they don’t look SEO friendly. Read our blog post on creating SEO friendly URLs to learn more.

What is the Purpose of Redirects For SEO, and Why are They Important?

A redirect is used so that a page that no longer exists automatically sends the user to a new or relevant page. Redirects are important for SEO as they carry domain authority from the old page to the new. If you have a website that has a great domain authority and you change to a new website domain without redirecting, the pages will lose that authority, and the search engines will treat your website as if it is new to the internet.

What if You Don’t Prepare Redirects When a Website is Re-designed?

If you don’t prepare redirects when a website is re-designed and URLs are changing, this means users with links bookmarked for your old site won’t be able to find you and may end up on a 404 page. Old pages already ranking may also still show up in the search engine results pages.

As mentioned before, it can have a negative impact on your SEO efforts, losing you valuable traffic. Website crawlers won’t know what page to crawl and this could cost your rankings on the search engines. Learn more about the search engines process in our blog on crawling and indexing.

What is a 404 Page?

A 404 page is a page that no longer exists but hasn’t been redirected. These pages usually have an ‘oops’ or ‘This page cannot be found’ message. Ideally you would not come across these and the page would automatically redirect you to a new or relevant page.

What are the Most Common Webpage Redirects?

There are 2 main types of webpage redirects, each will redirect a page for a specific purpose.

301 redirects

301 redirects are the most commonly used redirects to permanently move a webpage from one URL to another. These are typically used for site migrations, and new web pages where the URL is changing.

302 redirects

302 redirects are redirects for when you want a page to be moved on a temporary basis. You might do this if you are having a new page constructed and you want to send users elsewhere for a short period of time.

Helping You to Punch Above Your Weight Online

Wildcat digital is an SEO and PPC agency that can help you with building your online presence. Whether you are a new website or existing, our team has the knowledge and experience to help you increase your visibility online. Get in touch to discuss how we can help you build a successful strategy.

Post by

Thea Chapman

Senior SEO Executive

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