301 Redirect SEO: How To Fix Your 301 Redirects in WordPress

Every time a link passes through a redirect, PageRank is lost through a piece of Google’s algorithm called the “damping factor.” In practice, this means that any time you link to yourself, you want to link directly to the target page, not to a URL that redirects.

Here’s how to do that, if your site runs on WordPress.

1. Get Screaming Frog

Get it here. Download it, follow the instructions to install it, yadda yadda. You know the drill.

2. Crawl your site

Once Screaming Frog is up and running, type in your site name and hit “Start.”

Screenshot of a web browser tab displaying a url, with arrows pointing to a "start" button and the browser's close icon.

Wait for Screaming Frog to crawl the URLs on your site. This will be indicated by the status bar:

Screenshot of a computer interface showing a progress bar at 11% completion with a pink arrow pointing to it.

Wait for it to reach 100%.

3. Export 301 redirects

Set the “Filter” to “HTML.” Sort the URLs by clicking on the “Status Code” column heading so that the arrow points downward (for descending):

Screenshot of an seo tool displaying url response statuses, including "404 not found", highlighted by arrows pointing at key features.

Highlight the addresses with a 301 status code, copy them (ctrl+c), and paste (ctrl+v) them into your favorite spreadsheet software (Google Sheets or Excel, for most), under a column called “301 URLs.”

Screenshot of a web crawler tool showing a list of urls with their content types and status codes highlighted with arrows indicating specific entries.

Screenshot of an excel spreadsheet displaying a list of urls in column a, titled "northcutt: 301 urls: 12/15/2016" at the top.

4. Add correct links to the spreadsheet

The easiest method is to simply copy the URL from the spreadsheet, paste it into your browser of choice, then copy the final URL after it finishes redirecting. Paste it into a column called “Redirects To.” (Copying the destination URL from Screaming Frog can cause you to miss the fact that the URL it redirects to is broken, or another redirect.)

Screenshot of an excel spreadsheet displaying a list of urls in column a with their corresponding redirected urls in column b.

5. Install the “Better Search Replace” WordPress plugin

Log into WordPress and go to Plugins > Add New

Screenshot of a website's wordpress admin panel highlighting the "add new" option under the "plugins" menu, indicated by a red arrow.

Search for the plugin:

Screenshot of wordpress search interface displaying a keyword search for "better search replace" with results indicating 727 items across 25 pages.

Click install:

Webpage section promoting the "better search replace" plugin by delicious brains, showing a graphic, star rating, user reviews, and installation options.

And activate:

Screenshot of a wordpress plugin interface showing "better search replace" plugin with an "activate" button and a summary of plugin details, ratings, and status.

6. Search and replace the redirected URLs

Backing up your database before this step is advised.

Go to Tools > Better Search Replace

Screenshot of a website's wordpress admin sidebar menu highlighting the "seo data import" tool with a pink arrow pointing at it.

Now copy the “301 URLs” from your spreadsheet into “Search for,” and the “Redirects To” URLs into “Replace with.” You will need to do one replacement at a time, you can’t copy whole columns. Select the tables where the links are located (typically wp_posts), and make sure “Run as dry run?” is unchecked. Then press “Run Search/Replace.”

IMPORTANT: Do NOT perform replacement that includes the search string in its entirety. For example, don’t search “https://example.com” and replace it with “https://example.com/”. Doing so will perform that replacement, but will also replace “https://example.com/” with “https://example.com//”. These types of replacements must be made manually.

Screenshot of a database search and replace tool interface, showing fields for "search for" and "replace with", with options for selecting specific database tables and case sensitivity toggle.

Repeat this for each URL. After the last search and replace is finished, you should be all set. You can run Screaming Frog a second time to ensure the 301s were fixed.

If you’re in search of more 301 redirect tips, check out:

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