The importance of 301 redirects
Casino affiliates have no shortage of webmaster tools to help them optimize their affiliate marketing plans. But one of the most effective of those webmaster tools may be one that’s most often overlooked: 301 redirects.
301 redirects are usually regarded as a way to save SEO status when re-organizing your website. For example, if you’re changing your URL structure, there’s a real risk of losing your hard-earned search engine rankings if you change the way your URL is set up.
But 301 redirects allow you to keep those existing, highly-ranked URLs while also transferring your site to a better URL structure. “301 is a status code that tells search engines that the content at a specific URL (web address) has permanently moved to another URL,” writes Shari Thurow at SearchEngineLand.com. “I like to think of it as a Change of Address card for computers.”
So, though 301 redirects are one of the most basic, even essential webmaster tools, they’re also one of the most important elements in mastering search engine optimization on a long-term scale. And, as you know, that’s every affiliate marketer’s priority.
Why you need it
If you’re serious about online marketing, you need to be serious about search engine optimization (SEO). And that means taking your site structure seriously.
If you want to get rid of an old page, or change it, you can’t simply just delete it or change it without harming your search engine ranking.
Why? Google ranks your site highly because of your content, and backlinks. If you change that content, you’ll eventually change the ranking it receives, if just for one page.
If you change the URL structure of a page, that’s going to invalidate all the backlinks you’ve gained for that page. And, since that would likely crash your SEO efforts, it’s clearly an unacceptable solution.
Of course, there are other webmaster tools that can redirect browsers away from old pages — but they’re not as effective as 301 redirects. For instance, with a meta redirect, you’re essentially telling web browsers the same thing, that the page has changed and that it should go to the new URL.
However, the problem with meta redirects is that search engines tend to index the original, old page, as well as the new, redirected page — and that double-indexing is likely to get the page flagged as spam. That’s not only an SEO disaster, but a branding disaster, to boot.
How it works
So, 301 redirects are the best webmaster tool to set up new pages and get rid of old content without crashing your SEO. But do you have to be a tech whiz to set them up?
It helps to know a bit about html, but don’t worry — it’s not as tough as it sounds. Particularly if you’re the kind of casino affiliate who likes to take care of business yourself, you probably have some experience with setting up 301 redirects already.
There are a number of different ways to set up this type of redirect.
The most typical way is to create an .htaccess file. That’s a file that provides a web browser with instructions regarding a page’s location; by modifying that file, you tell the web browser, and the person using it, where to find the page they’re looking for.
This requires a bit of html editing, but to redirect a page on an .htaccess file, open the file in notepad and tell it what the new page is, and what the old page is. Then save that file and upload it to your root folder, and you’re set. (For more detailed instructions, check out this helpful guide from iSiteBuild.com.)
Don’t learn the hard way — your search engine rankings are the life force of your site and your entire affiliate marketing efforts. Don’t risk crashing your rankings with shoddy redirects. Using 301 redirects effectively helps you avoid unnecessary SEO crises. For that reason alone, it remains one of the most powerful webmaster tools in your casino affiliate marketing toolbox.