As you may or may not know, a 301 redirect is a permanent redirect which passes between 90-99% of link equity (ranking power) to the redirected page. In most scenarios, the 301 redirect is the best method for implementing redirects on a website.

But what if you want to reverse a 301 redirect and send users to your original page? Is it possible?

The short answer is yes. But because the original redirect was technically permanent, it might not work the way you’d expect or hope and could lead to additional problems.

Here’s four different 301 redirect scenarios and the details of each.

Scenario #1: Single-page, full reverse

This is the easiest 301 redirect, which will require you to:

  • Remove the 301-redirect from A→B
  • Add a 301-redirect from B→A
  • Re-point internal links to Page A
  • Submit both pages to Google Search Console (GSC)
  • Give Google time to re-cache Page B

Don’t fall into the trap of disregarding the existence of Page B. Google will still need time to process the new signals, which is impossible if you’re hiding or blocking crawlers from Page B.

Scenario #2: Single-page, keep both

If you want both pages to have equal search engine status, here’s what you need to do:

  • Remove the 301-redirect from A→B
  • Add self-referencing rel-canonicals (A→A, B→B)
  • Submit both pages to Google Search Console (GSC)

Self-referencing rel-canonicals will tell Google that Page B is its own independent entity. However, any authority passed on through the original redirect will now be split between the two.

If you want Page B to be hidden from search but still exist for say, legal reasons, you’ll need to:

  • Remove the 301-redirect from A→B
  • Add a rel-canonical tag from B→A
  • Re-point internal links to Page A
  • Submit both pages to Google Search Console (GSC)

Scenario #3: Site-wide URL reverse

Site-wide URL changes are risky, especially since a reversal is going to confuse Google’s ranking signals even more. But if you have for example, switched from http→https, here are the key steps:

  • Remove all 301-redirects from A→B
  • Add site-wide 301-redirects from B→A
  • Add self-referencing canonical to all pages
  • Re-point internal links to “A-type” URLs
  • Re-build XML sitemap(s) for A-type URLs
  • Submit critical pages to Google Search Console (GSC)
  • Re-point select inbound links to “A-type” URLs

Unfortunately, Google Search Console has a limit on how many pages you can submit, so focus on high-authority pages and those that are higher in the internal linking structure. You may even need to reach out to authoritative inbound/external links and ask nicely for a re-point to your original URLs.

Scenario #4: Domain change reverse

This is often riskier than Scenario #3 because there are elements of your domain’s history that can influence rankings independently of how well or poorly you implemented 301-redirects. But if you’ve got no other option:

  • Remove all 301-redirects from A→B
  • Add site-wide 301-redirects from B→A
  • Add self-referencing canonical to all pages
  • Re-point internal links to Domain A
  • Re-add Domain A to Google Search Console (GSC)
  • Re-build XML sitemap(s) for Domain A
  • Submit critical pages to Google Search Console (GSC)
  • Re-point select inbound links to Domain A

If you’ve removed your own GSC profile, re-add it and re-create your full XML sitemap(s).