Redirection is the process of forwarding one URL to another. Ensuring that you are using the correct type of redirect for your requirements is essential so that you do not provide search engines with incorrect information about the status of your pages, which can lead to a loss of organic traffic.
Reasons to Use URL Redirects
Webmasters use redirects for a variety of reasons, such as:
- The original URL is broken
- You have purchased an SSL certificate and it will protect your entire website
- The website no longer exists
- You are performing maintenance on a web page and you want the user to land on a temporary landing page until the necessary changes are made.
- You have removed old pages of products/services that you no longer offer
- CMS platform changes
- Someone is linking to a page that has 404 and wants to send that link elsewhere
- You have implemented a new navigation structure
Types of Redirects & Impact on Google Search
The difference between redirects is undetectable to visitors, but Google treats them differently in terms of the strength of the signals sent to the destination URL.
Redirects fall into one of two categories: temporary or permanent. Google uses a permanent redirect as a strong signal that the destination URL should be the one shown in search results.
On the other hand, Google uses a temporary redirect as a weak signal that the target of the redirect should be the URL shown in search results.
Full details on the following six types of redirects have been added to Google’s help page:
Permanent server side redirects: The best way to change the URL that is displayed for a page in search results. Google recommends using this type whenever possible. Status codes 301 and 308 mean that a page has been permanently moved to a new location.
Temporary server-side redirects: Temporarily send visitors to a new page, ensuring that Google keeps the old URL in its results longer.
Instant meta refresh redirect: Google Search interprets instant meta update redirects as permanent redirects.
Delayed meta refresh redirect: Google Search interprets delayed meta update redirects as temporary redirects.
Crypto redirects: Consists of adding a link that points to a new page, accompanied by a brief explanation. This helps users find your new page and Google can understand this as an encryption redirect.
301 Redirect vs. 302 Redirect: Which is Better?
A 301 redirect, also known as a 301 permanently moved, is a permanent redirect that tells Google bots that the original page has been moved to a new location and that the original URL no longer exists. By placing a permanent redirect, a 301 redirect, this applies all the qualities of the original page to the redirected page, such as the weight of the link and the penalties it may have suffered.
This will not only tell search engines that the original page has been moved, but also that the content found on that page can be found at the new URL. Once the 301 redirects have been implemented, the next time Google crawls your site, it will remove the old URL from its index and replace it with the new URL.
301 redirects are the most effective redirect method for SEO, as you will be able to retain more than 90% of historical SEO authority and search signals from the old version of your URL.
A 302 redirect, also known as a 302 found, is a temporary redirect that is generally implemented when webmasters are performing maintenance on a specific URL, but plan to reactivate the original URL as soon as the job is complete. 302 redirects are also used by developers who want to show their customers potential changes on a new page without sacrificing the ranking and reliability of the original URL.
However, if 302 redirects are implemented as a permanent solution, they can detract from your site’s ranking and traffic value. 302 redirects do not convey the qualities of the original page, such as link weight and page authority, so they should only be used as a short-term solution.
There is a lot to study in the new Google guide. Here are some final points about redirects based on company recommendations.
Choosing a redirect depends on how long you expect the redirect to stay in effect and what page you want Google Search to show in search results.