URL redirects and when to use them

A redirect, in website terminology, is the process of forwarding, or otherwise pointing a URL and the associated page content to a different URL. There are quite a few methods of redirection, but these three are the most commonly used methods:

  • 301 Redirect – Moved Permanently
  • 302 Redirect - Moved Temporarily
  • Meta Refresh - Page-Leved Redirect

What is a 301 Redirect?

A 301 Redirect implies to search engines that the previous URL has been moved permantly to the URL you're redirecting too. You will only want to use this type of redirect when you're sure you no longer need the old one as the website's URL credability will be transferred to the new URL. A common use for using this type of redirect is when you are making major structural changes to a website, ensuring that you've gracefully depreciated any old pages is absolutely essential. A lot of people will tell you that using 301 redirects on all removed URLs is the best way to stay on Google's good side in terms of 301 redirect strategy. The SEO pros at Moz seem to agree:

A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect which passes between 90-99% of link juice (ranking power) to the redirected page. 301 refers to the HTTP status code for this type of redirect. In most instances, the 301 redirect is the best method for implementing redirects on a website.

What is a 302 Redirect?

A 302 Temporary Redirect, as the name implies, allows a site to temporarily point a URL to a different URL. This is commonly used in cases where a page may be under construction, or a category on an ecommerce page that has no currently active products. These redirects do not pass , what we call in the SEO industry, link juice. 302 Redirects are not intended to be permanent, so their use should be limited to specific use cases where a temporary page is necessary.

What is a Meta Refresh (Redirect)?

Meta Refresh Redirects are a different method of achieving a redirect, only the actual redirection process takes place at the page-level, not the server-level. You've likely encountered a meta refresh redirect if you've ever visited a site with a splash page with a message similar to "If you are not redirected in 10 seconds, click here." – this page is performing a redirect after loading the original URL, instead of replacing it entirely. These do pass some link authority to the new page URL, but they are not recommended because of their poor user experience, and the fact that these redirects do not pass full authority in the same way as a 301 redirect does.

Why do I need to know this?

While redirects are a process that helps users and retains much of your SEO page ranking, having an excessive or disorganised set of redirects can negatively affect page performance, and affect how GoogleBot crawls into your website. Knowing when or where not to use the right form of redirection is crucial for your SEO success.

If you have questions or worries about redirections on your website or SEO in general, get in touch with the RedFlamingo Studio team and see how we can help you.

Article Posted on Wednesday 19th August 2020 at 12:08pm