Tracking Redirects

Use this Spreadsheet to Create and Track 301s

May 18, 2015

301 Redirects are an SEO friendly way to move webpages from one URL to another. Add 301 code to the htaccess or apache config file, and the server automatically redirects visitors from one page to another. The code also notifies search engines where the new page is located, which is good for SEO if the old page has been indexed. Additionally, the 301 redirect is an efficient way to convert a short and readable link into a longer URL string. For example, the print publication may include which redirects the user via 301 to

RewriteRule ^/old1/(\/?)$ \ [R=301,L]

Once you start using 301s regularly, you need a system to keep track of them. A bunch of redirects may slow down the server and page load time, so it is good to remove ones that aren’t being used. If you are using redirects as part of your marketing efforts, you also need a system to measure your efforts.

Add Google Analytics URL Appends to Redirects

Rutgers University Alumni Association has a good presentation on using Google Analytics to track marketing driven redirects. The presentation includes links to a Google Analytics link builder as well as a sample Excel Template to track the links.

Use a Starter Template

Building on Rutgers’ resources, I created a spreadsheet template with formulas that add the Google Analytics tracking as well provide the necessary code for the .htaccess 301. On the document, there is a tab for marketing staff to enter details and another tab that generates the 301 code for IT staff to copy and paste onto the server. Use the document to efficiently create and track 301s. Invest the time savings into marketing strategy and measurement. Then, get in touch with me and tell me what you learned.