Having found a lot of 404 page not found errors reported by Google Webmaster Tools on a client’s WordPress website, I started working on some 301 redirects – there were so many 404s that they were a serious concern. Google may have been seeing the site as giving a very bad user experience, or just being bad quality.

301 redirection, in case you’re not sure, takes a visitor to a page of your choice instead of a generic 404 error page. You should choose a page with content that is close to the content the visitor was expecting on the page that no longer exists.

Great. The site already had the Simple 301 Redirects plugin in place, so I went and added some ten or so redirects to it.

Thankfully I made sure the redirects were working

I tested my new redirects.

They weren’t working.

I tested the old redirects, too.

They weren’t working, either.

Time to check the plugin

Simple 301 Redirects had been updated in December last year and was claimed to be compatible up to WP 3.8. I’ve seen worse.

I swapped Simple 301 Redirects for the Redirection plugin I use on this site and Boom! The redirects work.

So I have something else to look out for on WordPress sites!

Have you checked your 301 redirects are still working?

Thanks to Jaap Joris for making his image available via Creative Commons.