SEO can be rather daunting for a beginner, but there are some processes that can be difficult, even for seasoned practitioners.
Redirection is one of them.
So what exactly is it? It is forwarding one URL, as requested by users or search engines, to a different URL. Sounds simple enough, but it’s more complicated than that. Read on to find out quick and easy ways to understand redirects.
301 Moved Permanently – also known as a “permanent” redirect. This is actually the HTTP status code and is regarded as the best or preferred method of redirecting to another website. It usually passes link juice or ranking power of about 90-99% to the redirected page.
302 Found / Moved Temporarily – The HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) where the internet runs has two major versions. 1.0, which is the first version, refers to 302 redirect as “Moved Temporarily,” but it was changed to mean “Found” in version 1.1. It is regarded by some people as similar to 301s, but as mentioned, it is not a permanent redirect.
307 Moved Temporarily (HTTP 1.1) – is a less common type of redirect, and is widely regarded as a “successor” of the 302. It is only compatible with HTTP 1.1. When in doubt, it is best to use the 302.
Meta Refresh – A slower type of redirect which is executed on a page. It is not utilized on a server level. It is not recommended as an SEO technique due to the loss of link juice and unusability. If you see the text “If you are not redirected in five seconds, click here,” it is a meta refresh.
How to Redirect
First, you have to determine the source of redirection: whether you’re redirecting from a page, domain, or one folder to another. Also determine whether you’re keeping the page structure or redirecting multiple pages into one.
Afterwards, you can identify where to do your redirects, such as DNS, Server, CDN, HTTP header response, or Language-based. For quick references on the technical side of redirection, visit the following links:
Search Engine Land has identified a number of useful tips to keep in mind when implementing redirects. It is best to identify and fix broken links first before you begin the process. Keep in mind that old URLs do not need to be blocked, because it then prevents Google and other search engines from passing the value to your new URL. Index pages may require different set of rules, so watch out for that as well. Multiple hops, on the other hand, can cause delays. A simple switch from HTTP to HTTPS may cause significant delays to your redirects. A cheat sheet can also help in terms of providing a guide for regular expressions, such as patterns for bulk URL redirects. It can be time consuming, so it will be most helpful to get a guide to make the process easier.
Finally, it pays to use the right status code. The 301 is the most preferred type for SEOs, but it depends on the purpose of the redirect. For instance, offloading to a new server with a changed address or changing a URL indefinitely or temporarily can be better off with a 302, which sends signals to the original URL. On the other hand, a 301 is a much better option for consolidation of signals to a new URL. A 307 can be derived from a 301 or 302, and is commonly utilized for a cached browser or HSTS.
Knowing the basics of redirects can do wonders for your SEO and web page, simply follow the tips mentioned and remember to follow SEO best practices to ensure that your redirects are hassle-free and search engine friendly. To know more about redirects, please visit Arcalea.
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