How to Track a 301 Redirect

Written by derek young
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How to Track a 301 Redirect
Accurately track a 301 redirect by redirecting to a tracking code. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Tracking a 301 redirect is notoriously difficult. A 301 redirect basically tells a browser or spider not to even look at the content of the website and to instead go to the new permanently-located site. Since the browser never loads the HTML, it won't see any JavaScript code and won't load a tracking pixel. In other words, most methods of tracking (e.g., Google Analytics) won't work with a 301 redirect because the code never gets loaded. Fortunately, you can track your 301 by changing the redirect location to a tracking code location.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Sign into your tracking system. Look for a feature that allows you to append tracking codes to the end of a URL. It may be labelled "track 301 redirects" or something similar. The code will look something like this: "utm_source=referrer&utm_medium=medium&utm_campaign=campaign"

  2. 2

    Append the generated code to the end of the destination URL. For example, if you were redirecting to "," your new URL might be ""

  3. 3

    Set your 301 redirect to send users to the appended URL. Whenever that URL is loaded, it'll know via the URL variables where they came from. The data will then be added to your tracking stats.

Tips and warnings

  • You can also track your 301 redirect using server-based tracking (e.g., Awstats) or domain-level tracking (e.g., GoDaddy stats.) The statistics will be much less detailed, but they can be used to double-check your other stats.

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