Redirects for SEOs

by Shannon Hutcheson October 14th, 2008 

Traduction francaise: Redirections en OMR

URL redirection is a handy technique for SEOs to refer to new pages or changed domains. For SEO purposes, it’s important to use the proper redirect to keep the link juice flowing.

Why redirect a web page?

-    Similar domain names – incorrectly spelled domains, like google.com and googel.com
-    Changed domains, you’ve moved your site
-    Merged 2 websites (or more)
-    Moved pages
-    Too time intensive to track down every site who links to your domain/page and ask them to update it to the new URL
-    Outdated pages – redirect to a newer post/page (use SEP’s WordPress 301 Redirect plugin! Forgive me for shamelessly plugging our plugin…)

Other Redirect Page Uses

-    Logging outgoing links – using a redirect page to know exactly which URL they clicked on leaving the site. An example is a “warning” page that tells the visitor they are now leaving the site.
-    Aliases for long or changing URLs – like tinyurl.com
-    Manipulating search engines (naughty!) – back in the day, a page could show for popular keywords, but redirect visitors to another target page. Of course now days such obvious tactics are caught and penalized.
-    Phishing – redirection by using a similar link to a company site in effort to gain personal information, like a credit card. A classic example here is the oh-so-common Paypal emails I still get requesting me to confirm or dispute a transaction by clicking a link that does not go to the Paypal site.
Incoming links to an incorrect URL can be permanently redirected to the correct location. By using a “moved permanently” redirect URL, the search engines may detect the updated link and use the correct, newer URL.

Types of Redirects

1.    Manual Redirect – the most simple redirect is the basic html anchor
<a href=”http://www.example.com”>link</a>

2.    HTTP Status Codes 3xx
-    300 multiple choices – the web server thinks the URL is not specific enough. (e.g. there are many similar document names to choose from, and you must make a further choice).
-    301 moved permanently – used to indicate a permanently moved page; passes link juice
-    302 Found is the default redirect, if you do not specify a 301 permanent redirect; your links will not pass link juice!
-    303 see other (e.g. for results of cgi-scripts) – usually seen after filling in a website form

3.    Server-Side Redirects – you can’t use html to make a redirect, so one must use a server side script via php, asp, cgi, etc.

4.     Using .htaccess for Redirects – specify 301 for each URL
Example:
Redirect 301 /oldpage.html http://www.example.com/newpage.html

5.    Meta Refresh – is not recommended, people with cognitive or visual disabilities are unable to read moving text quickly or at all. Screen readers are not able to read moving text either. If you must use a meta refresh redirect, use a 0 delay. Every search engine treats refresh meta differently and it is suggested that a meta refresh will be treated as a 302. It wouldn’t pass link juice.

6.    Javascript Redirects – are ignored entirely by search engines. Not recommended for SEO at all.

For SEO purposes, it is very important that you are aware that the default redirect (if you do not specify it) is 302. The 302 does not pass link juice.  If you use the 301 redirect, it acts as a natural bridge between what your URL was and where the new location is. The 301 redirection is SEO friendly and the search engines treat it with more authority than a 302 (which is considered temporary only).

So unless you have a very good reason to use the 302 (your page really is temporary), make sure you specify a permanently moved location with a 301 redirect.

Traduction francaise: Redirections en OMR

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19 Responses to “Redirects for SEOs”

  1. SEO Diva says:

    This is something I've wondered about for some time – how late do you think is too late to implement a 301 redirect? A couple of weeks…a couple of months?

  2. [...] time intensive to track down every site who links to your domain/page and ask them to update it Source Blogs about [...]

  3. Metaspring says:

    That is an very comprehensive post, so I think I am going to file this one for future reference as well. Thanks.

  4. Like what SEO Diva said, how long would it take to be considered late to implement the 301 redirect? Or is there no such thing as too late? I'm interested in knowing this.

    Thanks for posting this by the way. Will take a look if I need to do any of this.

  5. I've been intimated by redirects – kind of complicated. Thanks for the overview.

  6. Utah SEO says:

    A good review and reference for redirects. Good post.

  7. Elliot Ross says:

    One question though -

    does not a 301 require that you have a new IP Address ??

    What if IP address stays the same???

  8. Michael says:

    What's the word on using multiple redirects? Not in a chain but in a situation where you have many common misspellings in your keyword category? Any known flags if there are lots of them?

  9. Shannon Hutcheson says:

    SEO Diva and Roger, it's never too late to implement a 301 if you are wanting to keep/spread the link juice. However, if your URL is already giving a 404 (page not found) that would mean it is too late.

    Elliot, a new IP is not required or necissary at all. As stated on Jeff's post regarding our 301 WordPress plugin, a 301 could be used to redirect traffic to an updated or newer post on the same domain. 301 means permanently moved location whether it's on the same site or to the location of a new site.

    Thanks for all the comments guys, I am glad you find this useful ;)

  10. Elliot Ross says:

    @Shannon
    Thanks for the response.

    I was thinking about a regular business page though.

    The only way I know how to do that kind of redirect is to set the server to redirect http://www.oldsite.com to http://www.newsite.com -and that needs a new IP Address ??

  11. Using .htaccess is one the easiest way to redirect a domain properly.
    Rif Chia

  12. Diving Malta says:

    Some search engines do not allow you to list a redirected site though or?

  13. Downloadic says:

    Thanks for the post, I use .htaccess to redirect my links…

  14. Shannon Hutcheson says:

    @Elliot Ross it doesn't matter if your site is on the same IP if the domain name is different, or the single page is different then you can use 301. All you are doing is tell the search engines that there is a new permanent location for that URL whether it is a single page, or an entire domain that has changed or moved.

    @Diving Malta I'm not sure what you mean by "list" but the search engines will not index a 301 page. If your site location has changed it will index you at that new location, eventually.

  15. Thanks for the article. I'm looking to learn more SEO tricks in the future, so keep the articles coming.

  16. SEO Malta says:

    From my personal experience with SEO, I can tell that all search engines cater for redirects bit differently. Live Search for example keeps old urls in the index for some time, Google replaces them immediately.

  17. bilalseo says:

    Nice Information overall. I would like to add one more thing that meta refresher is entirely against the SEO techniques and google treats it as black hat technique.

  18. Very good article of Redirect Pages…

    Thanks

  19. A very good article on different types of Redirect Pages.