hopify redirects can make or break your search engine rankings and customer conversion. Luckily, it is an easy obstacle to tackle when it comes to your Shopify site.
You can think of a redirect as the mail forwarding service for your web pages. If someone is attempting to visit a webpage on your site that no longer exists or has moved, the redirect (or mail forwarding service) delivers them to the new home of the information without the visitor even realizing they were brought from one page to another.
Once you build and launch an ecommerce business, it’s likely that shoppers have saved links to product pages, you may have blog posts linked to your web pages, or you may even begin to sell under one domain name and switch, leaving customers with an outdated website address. In order to ensure all of the click-through traffic from these old URLs reach your current pages, you need to build redirects.
Why redirects are important
Redirects ensure no customers are lost because they can no longer find your store, and they also guarantee that your site will remain well ranked and discoverable by search engines.
1. Customer retention
Have you ever clicked on a link you saved only to end up at a 404 page not found message? Are you familiar with the sudden dip in confidence and the feeling of frustration that you have to start your product search all over again because the store you had found it on suddenly seems to not exist? Customers are lost when they can no longer reach your webpage.
Whether you’ve migrated your entire ecommerce store to a new domain or simply changed product page addresses, combing through to make sure your old links are redirected to your new URLs is imperative to keep website traffic flowing to the right destinations.
There are two reasons you need to care about building redirects when it comes to SEO.
The first is site indexing. If your website is large and interwoven, you might have built a sitemap and submitted it to google. If it’s relatively small, and properly linked, Google is able to map your site by crawling through it on its own.
When your site is mapped or indexed, that means Google is able to pull up the most relevant web pages that correspond with a search query. This is important because this is how you rank well in search results and how visitors find your site and products.
The key here is that your site can only be mapped if it is properly linked. If you make changes to your site and don’t go through and build redirects from your old urls to your new urls, your links are no longer accurate and your site cannot be mapped. Ultimately, your site will not rank well in search results and you can lose traffic.
Types of redirects
There are two options when it comes to redirects, permanent or temporary.
The more common of these two is 301 redirects or permanent redirects. Permanent redirects display the new targeted site in search results while temporary redirects display the original page in search results.
How to build a redirect in Shopify
Have you just migrated your ecommerce business to Shopify and changed your domain? Do you have old product pages in your sale pages that are no longer accurate? Do you no longer carry a product but have replaced it with something similar?
Whatever the reason you need to redirect visitors, you can build your redirects right in Shopify. If you have a lot of redirects to address, it might benefit you to use an app from the Shopify app store.
The Easy Redirects app helps you catch 404 pages, redirect single pages or many pages, and eliminate redirect errors that can hurt your search engine ratings. Maybe most beneficially, the app can help you migrate your store to Shopify from another platform and can help you manage many redirects by recognizing patterns to redirect entire collections at once.
Creating redirects in Shopify
To create redirects in Shopify, all you have to do is follow a few easy steps from the Shopify admin page:
- Click the Online Store option in the left menu
- A menu will appear below, select navigation
- In the upper right-hand corner of the screen, click the text that says view URL redirects
- Click create URL redirect
- Now you can paste your old URL into the “redirect from” box and the new URL into the “redirect to” box
This method allows you to create the URL redirects right in Shopify.
There is also an option to import redirects which allows you to build your redirects and then bulk upload them by importing them as a CSV file.
In step 3, you will instead click import URL redirects.
- Click add file
- Select your file
- Click upload file
If the old URL still leads to a valid page, the redirect will not work. This is only to redirect traffic from pages that no longer exist.
If you have migrated your entire website, you may redirect all of your old pages to your new homepage, prompting customers to begin their search again but through your new pages.
Do keep in mind that certain pages can’t be redirected such as those with URLs beginning with /apps, /application. /cart, /carts, /orders, /shop, /services.
Once you have created redirects, you can manage them from the same place in your admin view.
Mistakes to look out for with URL redirects
1. Homepage address
When it comes to redirects, there are a few sticking points that first-timers might find themselves caught by. If your website has multiple homepage addresses, you need to tell Google which one to treat as the actual homepage and then redirect the others. If you don’t specify, Google may try to crawl your site starting from an outdated homepage.
2. Page naming
It’s also good practice to keep the language of your pages consistent even if your domain name changes. This can help make the transition to your new domain easier when crawling and indexing your new site.
3. 410 pages
Sometimes when a page is gone, it’s just gone. Maybe you don’t sell that product anymore and don’t want to redirect to a similar product for whatever reason. In this case, keeping a couple of your dead pages with 410 messages helps alert your customers that that product is no longer available.
Shopify redirects are a thing of the past
Don’t be intimidated by redirects. Even if you have many pages to sort through to redirect URLs, some options simplify the process. Managing your redirects and keeping on top of how the pages in your online store are functioning will keep your store ranking well in search engine results and will guarantee your customers find what they are looking for on your site.
Shopify redirects may no longer be an issue (thanks to this guide) but if you have other issues with your ecommerce site Beamcommerce can help. App extensions like Aftersell app, the eCommerce app that turns your post-purchase experience into a revenue-generating machine, are just one of the many fast, effective, and incredibly beautiful apps Beamcommerce can create for your Shopify needs.