Properly managing 301 and 302 redirects is key for any online store. Over time category and product names may change or be discontinued and promotional pages may become outdated and be removed. It is likely that there are a number of backlinks across the internet and the website itself to any URL that is updated or removed. Instituting redirects is necessary to keep any visitors to these old URLs from seeing 404 error pages, which can often discourage them from continuing. With proper redirects in place, old URLs can be redirected to the appropriate page, which helps boost user engagement and manifests itself it longer average visit times and lower bounce rates. Using redirects also maximizes the SEO benefits for your site from backlinks to old URLs and helps search engine crawlers to index your site properly.
Conveniently for Magento store owners, the software has a built in system for handling 301 and 302 redirects without having to edit your .htaccess file directly. Simply follow the steps below to set up redirects via Products > URL Rewrite Management:
1) Locate any system directs for the Request Path, e.g. product-abc.html, that you want to redirect and make a backup copy (to which you will need to refer in Step 3 below) via screenshot or copy / paste. This can be accomplished by searching for the Request Path in the appropriate field.
2) Delete all the system redirects for the Request Path that you’d like to update (Edit > Delete).
3) Add URL Rewrites via the button in the upper right for any paths that need to be redirected:
Add URL Redirect > Custom (from Create URL Rewrite dropdown) > Fill in fields under URL Rewrite Information by referring to the back from Step 1. For Type, select Permanent (301) or Temporary (302) depending on the duration you are planning to redirect. Change the Target Path to wherever you would like the redirect to point and then save.
4) Verify the redirect work by visiting yourdomain.com/request-path.html. This URL should redirect to the URL you entered under Target Path.