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HTTP Redirects - A Key Element of SEO Strategy
HTTP redirect codes - The URL redirect also known as URL forwarding is a technique to give more than one URL address to a page or as a whole website or an application.
Some of the goals may be temporary redirects during site maintenance or downtime and permanent redirects to preserve existing links, and bookmarks after changing the site URL progress pages while uploading
a file, etc.
In this blog we will be seeing the redirects, and what they mean to SEO.
What is Redirect?
Redirects are a way to forward users to a URL other than the one they requested. As redirects play a very important role in SEO, it is important to be aware of what type of redirects are they and when to use the apt ones and how to measure them against one another.
What are the types of redirects?
Redirects can be classified into two groups, they are server-sided and client-sided. Whereas each group contains a various number of redirects that search engine view as either permanent or temporary.
So, one must be cautious to choose the right type of redirect for the task in order to avoid potential SEO issues.
Server-side is a forwarding method in which the server decides where to redirect the user or search engine when a page is requested by sending a 3XX HTTP status code.
While doing SEO, most of the time server-side redirects will be used whereas client-side redirect has some drawbacks.
Here are some of the 3XX redirects every SEO should know:
A 301 redirect indicates the permanent moving of a web page from one location to another.
The 301 part refers to the HTTP status code of the redirected page.
When affronted with 301 redirects, search engines usually drop the old redirected URL from their indexes in favour of the new URL.
They transfer their Page rank which is the authority to the new URL.
A 302 redirect basically forwards the users to the new URL and lets to know that the page or website has been removed temporarily.
This type of redirect is used when they want to send the users to a new site or page for a short period of time as in when you are redesigning or updating your website.
302 can be used only if you’re planning on eventually bringing the old page back or setting up a new one.
Nevertheless, if you leave the 302 redirects in place for a long time, the search engines will likely start treating it like a 301 redirect and index the new URL instead.
If you want to test out a new page and get consumer feedback without hurting your rankings from the original page you can use a 302 redirect.
A 303 redirect may forward the user to a resource similar to the one requested and is a temporary form of redirect.
It is basically used for matters that prevent form resubmissions when a user hits the “back” key in the browser. You won’t be using303 redirects usually for SEO purposes. But if so the search engines may treat them as either a 301 or 302.
A 308 redirect is also very similar to 301 redirects, except for the matter that it retains the HTTP method of the original request while doing the redirect.
So generally, it is recommended to use the 301 redirects instead to indicate that the content has been moved permanently.
A client-side redirect is where the user has been redirected by the browser’s decision. It is generally not recommended to use unless you don’t have another option.
A 307 redirect usually occurs client-side when a site uses HSTS. The reason because HSTS tells the client’s browser that the server only accepts secure (HTTPS) connections and to do an internal 307 redirect in case it is asked to request unsecured (HTTP) resources from the for further.
Meta refresh redirect:
A meta refresh redirect is executed using the meta refresh element, which is located in the section. It is used to instruct a browser to refresh a page or load another URL after a couple of seconds.
Java script redirect:
A java redirect is used to instruct the browser to redirect the user to a different URL. Moreover, it is still better to use a 3XX redirect where possible but a Java Script redirect is typically fine if that is the user's only option.
What is the purpose of using redirects?
The primary purpose of using redirects is like if you are removing content from the site, you should permanently redirect its URL to a relevant or similar page or website where it is possible.
This helps to ensure that any backlinks to the old page still count for SEO purposes.
It also ensures that any bookmarks or internal links that still work. When do we use redirects:
Redirects are generally used when moving content to a new URL, when deleting pages or when changing domain names or authority, or merging websites.
But now and then avoid using redirects. When it has to be used make sure that you follow the right practices.
Chained redirects can be avoided, if possible, that is one redirect should not forward to another redirect.
Best practices for SEO redirects
Some of the best practices for setting up SEO redirects and these strategies may help to encounter any problems with your redirects.
Redirects to the preferred version of the website URL
While setting up redirects always target and focus on the preferred and most relevant version of the target URL. This is specifically important when the website generates URLs dynamically, and also can have multiple URLs for the same page.
Redirect to the relevant alternate URL
This issue is already covered during the previous process. However, given the importance, it is worth recapping it again.
Always try to redirect the most relevant alternative to the original URL to retain the topical relevance.
Avoid redirected chains
Only set up up to two redirects simultaneously. If possible, consolidate them to eliminate the chain.
Redirects are often set and forgotten but the sites changes constantly and old redirects might need revaluation. Remove redirects URL within the sitemap and update internal links As a basic rule, the sitemap should not include in the redirected content.
But instead, it could be only listing the final, target URLs for every redirect. Evaluate the sitemap regularly, particularly if it is created automatically by your CMS system to identify redirects to remove and replace with the URLs.
Redirects for SEO are very much straightforward. Where you’ll be using server-side 301 and 302 redirects most of the time. Depending on whether the redirect is permanent or temporary.
Hence, the HTTP redirect codes for SEO are explained.
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