Creating Squarespace 301 Redirects To Fix Broken Page Links
Why Are 301 Redirects So Important?
1. Stop Aggravating Prospects - Broken page links that result in a 404 page are irritating. As a builder of Squarespace websites and content marketing strategies, the last thing I want to do is annoy a prospective client who has come to a site I've built to learn more about the available services. In the beloved cartoon "Peanuts," when Charlie Brown tries to kick the football, Lucy pulls the football away, and he lands on his back. He is always left frustrated. This is what you are doing to a potential client with a broken page link on your website.
2. Broken Page Links Are Bad For SEO - Getting found online is the best way to attract new customers and grow your business. Having a high PageRank and getting found on Google's Search Engine Results Pages or SERP's is essential to the well-being of your business. Broken page links negatively impact your websites SEO, and though you have a witty, pithy custom 404 page to help mitigate your visitor's frustration of not finding what they came for, this in no way supports your online visibility.
3. Don't Squander The Goodwill of Earned Backlinks
Backlinks to your website act as a "vote" for a website’s value. Backlinks to your website and links within your website can affect where your website ranks in search results. 301 redirects ensure backlinks from another website to your site ago uninterrupted. Backlinks are powerful SEO indicators that help you rank high on search engine results pages. Without 301 redirects backlinks will point to a non-existing page resulting in a 404 Error page. If you have an audience that thinks highly enough of a page on your website that they are willing to take the time and link to it, you owe it to them to ensure the backlink goes to the page.
What is a 301 Redirect and Where Do I Find URL Mappings in Squarespace?
If you rename or move a page on your Squarespace website and the URL slug changes, a 301 redirect will automatically send visitors and search engine crawlers to your new pages while maintaining 85-90% of your search engine ranking. Think of a 301 redirect as a detour sign that directs traffic around a street that has been blocked and gets you to your destination.
Accessing your Squarespace URL Mappins Section - In Squarespace, 301 redirects can be created in the URL Mappings section. This section can be found by calling up your website and pressing escape on your keyboard to login to the backend content management system and manage your site. Once in, from Home click on Settings. From Settings click on Advanced and then finally, click URL Mappings.
How To Set Up Squarespace 301 Redirects
Setting up Squarespace 301 redirects is a relatively simple process. However, there are some formatting considerations to be aware of before you begin.
• URL redirects only apply to built-in and custom domains connected to your Squarespace site. If you have another site hosted off of Squarespace, connect it to your site before creating URL redirects.
• Keep the syntax and formatting the same. If you're URL are all lower case, make sure your redirects are also all lower case.
• URL redirects do not recognize “?” “&” or “#” symbols. They interfere with the redirect process. This can prevent you from linking to anchor links and some index pages.
• Make sure your redirects do not use any reserved URL slugs
• The URL mapping field on Squarespace has a limit of 400KB, which is around 2500 redirect lines. Always delete inactive redirects to keep it manageable.
• When a user activates a redirect more than once in a two minute period, Squarespace sends them to a 404 page. This is a precaution that prevents redirect loops.
• Squarespace uses hierarchical redirects, from top to bottom, so higher redirects take priority. If you have a specific redirect, for example, a particular blog post, place them above any broader redirects that may conflict – for example the main blog page.
Now that you know the formatting issues let's look at the specific process for adding Squarespace 301 redirects.
STEP 1 – Log Into Squarespace and Go To URL Mappings
From your Home menu click Settings. Go to Advanced and click URL Mappings
STEP 2 - To Redirect One Web Page
You need four elements to create a URL Mapping
The old URL
The “arrow” - a dash followed by a greater than sign (Do not include a space between the two characters) ->
The new URL for the page you are redirecting
The redirect type (301)
The URL mapping will look like this: /old-url-slug → /new-url-slug 301
STEP 3 - Save
After adding redirects, click save. If you've forgotten or misformatted any line in your list of 301 redirects, the Squarespace system will not let you save your URL mappings until the problem has been fixed. Typical issues are usually typos like forgetting to add a space between the destination URL slug and 301.
The following are three real example of 301 redirects created for this website when I changed page titles and URL's
/website/ -> /website-portfolio/ 301
/branding/ -> /brand-and-logo-design/ 301
/about/ -> /our-story 301
Adding Multiple Squarespace 301 Redirects
To redirect multiple blog posts, events or products (all of these pages will typically have multiple pages and use the same slug) each individual page will have its own URL that includes a page slug followed by the item's slug – for example: /blog/name-of-your-article
If you change a URL's page slug in the page settings, every item in the page will have a new URL. You'll want to direct your visitors to the correct place even if they're using an outdated URL to open an item. Instead of adding individual redirect commands for every post, you can save time by adding a single line that redirects all item URLs.
For example: Your old blog's page URL was /blog/. You changed it to /posts/.
To ensure that readers can still view your article “how-to-add-keywords-to-photos-on-houzz-projects” when the click on the URL https://www.means-of-production.com/blog/how-to-add-keywords-to-photos-on-houzz-projects, simply enter the "name variable" in the redirect.
/blog/[name] -> /posts/[name] 301.
In the example we've been using the redirect will look like this:
/blog/how-to-add-keywords-to-photos-on-houzz-projects -> /posts/how-to-add-keywords-to-photos-on-houzz-projects 301
It's critical to add 301 redirects when you change the name/URL of your pages. They are an important factor that will prevent bad links and are critical for maintaining your search engine ranking. Remember, user experience is critical for building your brand authority. Make sure you take the time to correctly redirect your visitors while they are on your Squarespace website.
Internal Page Links Will Need To Be Updated Too
Internal links are also affected by changing your page URLs. Internal links are when you link from one page to another within your website. Examples of internal linking include inline text links from one page to another, linking a blog article's call to action to a landing page and linking an image to a project portfolio page. If your website has hundreds of pages, keeping track of broken links can be difficult. To find broken links and 404 errors you’ll need a site crawler like Screaming Frog. If you've received a website audit from Means-of-Production then you have seen Screaming Frog reports. If you're thinking about a website rebuild or a new Squarespace website and would like a free video audit and SEO report, click here.
Problems With 301 Redirects
Here at Means of Production, we come across 301 redirect problems on a regular basis. One of the most common is that over time 301 redirects can become a complex and ungodly mess. The primary reason this occurs is that redirects get placed on top of other redirects. Here's an example
First Page URL Slug (/kitchen-design-boston) is changed….redirect to a new Second Page URL (/new-kitchen-design-boston)
Second Page (/new-kitchen-design- boston) is changed…redirect to a new Third Page URL (/new-kitchen-design-boston-massachusetts)
Third Page URL (/new-kitchen-design boston-massachusetts) is changed…redirect to a new Fourth Page URL (/contemporary-new-kitchen-design-build-boston-massachusetts)
This is called a “redirect chain” and they're bad because multiple redirects can prevent page links or domain authority from being passed on to the most relevant page. These need to be addressed so that each old variant of a page redirects straight to a new one, eliminating the chain. For example:
First Page (/kitchen-design- boston) URL Slug Redirects to Fourth Page URL (/contemporary-new-kitchen-design-build-boston-massachusetts)
Second Page URL Slug (/new-kitchen-design-boston) Redirects to Fourth Page URL (/contemporary-new-kitchen-design-build-boston-massachusetts)
Third Page URL (/new-kitchen-design boston-massachusetts) Redirects to Fourth Page URL(/contemporary-new-kitchen-design-build-boston-massachusetts )
Another common problem is that 301 redirects are often used incorrectly. The most common? Website owners redirecting all old pages to their site's homepage (because it's fast and easy). If you're redesigning your website whether you're removing content or creating new pages or categories, it's important to take the time to make sure each old page is being redirected to the most relevant new or existing page on your website.
Squarespace makes creating 301 redirects easy and fast. URL Mapping with 301 redirects will improve your sites user experience and is a factor that affects not only your PageRank and visibility in SERP's but also your brand identity. Nothing will increase your bounce rate as quickly as a user searching for information only to be redirected to your homepage or 404 page!
About Michael Conway
I'm the owner of Means-of-Production, a marketing firm that supports architects, interior designers, remodelers, builders and landscape professionals. My firm builds Squarespace websites that are designed to get found online, attract better prospects, capture leads and keep them returning to your site until they become clients. If you need help with a Squarespace site that you've built, click here to view my calendar and schedule a call. I am a Squarespace Specialist and Authorized Trainer. Together we can improve your site so that it grows your business.