What Is A 301 Map
Now that you have all of your basics ready for preparing yourself for your SEO setup, the next step is to put together your 301 map and tier document. You’ll want to put together these items in order to prepare for the restructuring of your site.
A 301 map is effectively a map of every page on your site that is queried by Google. This is especially helpful if you have made significant changes to your site recently and switched any URLs on the site. This will list all of your 301s, 302s, and 404s on the site, among other items. This is important because it allows you to see any errors that are occurring (if any), and where any pages are being directed to.
To set up this 301 map, there are all kinds of tools available that can scrape the site and pull this data for you. Deciding which one to use usually comes down to preference, and we generally prefer to go with a tool called “Screaming Frog”. There are two version of this tool – a paid version and a free version. The free version will adequately pull what you need to know, but it does limit you in what you are able to pull out from this data. For this reason, we recommend going with the paid version, as you can ignore robots.txt and fully scrape the site without having to change any of that in the back end.
To use this tool, you simply need to type in your domain, and it will then run the report and split out this data for you – all SEO detail and additional information. Once everything has run inside of Screaming Frog, you can then export the data, and sort it by the status code, allowing you to easily see the organized data you are looking for.
From there, you can review and see what needs to be adjusted based on their status code. You should identify any pages that need to have a 301 added to it for optimal setup, and then make adjustments from there. Anything that is showing as a 404 you’ll want to edit to make a permanent redirect once you decide what the best destination will be.
A 404 is anything that will show up as “Not Found” to someone going to that URL on the site. Getting this fixed is an important step so that users will be able to adequately find what they are looking for and nothing appears broken on the site. Once you make these permanent redirects, they will now show as new 301s inside of Google Search Console. After applying the changes, you can also mark them as fixed inside of console, and Google will then know to go back through and crawl your site again.
From there, you can also use your tier doc for other purposes as well, such as figuring out the best place for your pages to live throughout the site, and restructuring your site to reflect this. Using your tier document to gain a high level overview of your site can be very beneficial in breaking down which pages should be nested within others and can increase your organization of the site substantially. You can also use it to manage your keyword references internally (note that this would be internal only as Google doesn’t use this in it’s rating anymore), and deciding where to add your SEO improvements throughout the site.
Once your 404s and 301s are settled, and everything is now directing precisely where it should be, you are one step closer to having your site fully optimized and functioning at it’s top potential. Finally, make sure your site is constantly meeting Google’s standards in every realm of search engine optimization.
Improving Your Conversion Rate
The entire process above will help you as you restructure your website. Once your 301 map is complete, you’ll want to focus on improving your conversion rate to draw in more leads that convert. Make sure to set up a Google Analytics account so that you can monitor the performance of your new site.
Creative MMS has some of the most skilled conversion rate optimization experts around. Contact us to schedule a digital discovery and strategy meeting for your next website project. Let’s work together.