301 Redirects That Don't Hurt SEO - How To?

Need to do 301 redirect for some well-ranked URLs.  Sort of terrified to lose ranking.  

Read that Google claims to no longer penalize 301 redirects / impact your SEO.  Need some SUPER failsafe practices to how that's ACTUALLY done.

 Seems like it could be a sort of "Ah!  Yes!  Well...you did the 301 redirect correctly BUT...you used your left hand, so...."  and then your ranking falls to pieces.  

Please, the inside scoop step-by-step for a low-impact 301 redirect vis-a-vis Google ranking.
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Lucas BishopClick TrackerCommented:
A 301 redirect is a very simple thing. It acts as a way of saying the location of a page has changed. When you make the change, you may see a shift in your rankings temporarily, but for the most part those should recover without issue. Google is ranking the pages for their users' benefit (not the site owners). If they feel your content is relevant, they will continue to maintain its ranking.

Think of it like a traffic sign. One day the sign (301) begins telling map-makers (Google), a location (your page) has changed. It may take a while for the map to get updated, but eventually it will. If Google thinks people are looking for that location, they'll continue to help people find it even in its new location.

As far as the technical side of it, via htaccess it's one of the simplest directives:

Redirect 301 /oldpage.htm /newpage.htm

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In your sitemap (that you submit to webmaster tools) you should put both URLs in there at first, then after about a month, remove the old urls. This helps make sure all the pages are crawled and that Google realizes the update.

In the canonical meta tag of the pages, you'll want to make sure they are all referencing the new URL.

Then anywhere on your site that has a link to oldpage.htm, you'll also want to go physically update those URLs to be newpage.htm instead. Same goes with your sitemap.

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oaktreesAuthor Commented:
Thanks! :))))))))))))))))))))!
Lavi GuptaCommented:
301 redirection is not so difficult. It helps to redirect your old url to a new url. Before doing this always keep in your mind that your new url should be relevant to your old url. Otherwise it will lost your organic traffic and improve your bounce rate..
ABBY HillQuicken ExpertCommented:
whatever Google says is always not true. it say doing 301 redirection does not impact ranking. But it does, and i have gone through many experiment
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