URL redirection is the process of redirecting website visitors and search engines from one URL to another when the original no longer exists.
As a general rule, it is required when transferring content to a new URL, deleting pages, changing domain names or merging sites.
But be aware that there are several different types of redirects and if you don’t follow redirect-appropriate practice, your hard work optimizing your site might quickly be lost in the mess. Simply put, selecting the appropriate redirect is very important from a search engine optimization (SEO) standpoint.
In this article, we will go over the importance of URL redirection and everything that has to be considered before implementing it. We will also go through some prominent URL redirects for 2023. Read the article all the way through to get all of the redirection-related confusion resolved.
Things To Check before URL Redirection (SEO)
When implementing URL redirection, it is vital to do all the possible to maintain the SEO value of the original page. This is because, if one URL is properly redirected to another URL, the search engines will link the ranking signals of the original with the new ones. To assist you with that, we have compiled some of the greatest SEO practices below.
Avoid Long Redirect Chains
When there are many redirects between the originating and destination URLs, the phenomenon is known as redirect chains. Well, having a long redirect is not a good approach to adopt in redirection when it comes to SEO.
First off, it creates indexing issues and affects the crawl budget. Google bots, in general, trace only up to five hops in a single crawl. Following that, the Search Console displays a redirect error and halts the task to avoid becoming stuck.
Long redirect chains can also really jeopardize the loading time of your website. Not only that but every time a new hop is added, the crawl budget time decreases. To put it another way, there will be far less time for Google bots to visit and crawl other pages.
Lost link equity is another demerit of using redirect chains. It is worth noting that the reroute never transfers full link equity. Even one additional hop along the way significantly reduces the value and authority of the page/link that is sent on.
Avoid Meta Refresh Redirects
A meta refresh redirect isn’t the most recommended approach to redirect from an SEO viewpoint because, as the name implies, it is a page refresh rather than a redirect. A 301 or 302 redirect is generally recommended by SEO experts. The biggest disadvantages of employing meta refresh redirects are:
• The functionality of the user’s browser’s BACK button may be impacted
• Could clog the page history
• Restrict the user’s freedom. Pages automatically reload, which is inconvenient
• A search bot can identify a meta redirect as spam
• Such modifications may not work effectively in earlier browser versions
Redirect Users to a Meaningful Page
This is the most obvious yet most significant point. In order to maintain topical relevance, rather than sending users to the default pages, redirect them to a more meaningful page. For example, if a user signs up or login on to your e-store, you can drive them to the shop page immediately. And there are various ways to accomplish this. The best is to install and activate the WooCommerce Redirect After Login, Registration and Logout tool by Addify. Just add the extension to your woocommerce store and increase your conversion rate. It is convenient enough and works like a wonder.
Ensure Each URL redirects to a Precise URL Using a Staging Environment
The staging environment is a different domain or subdomain than your live website. To test the URL redirection, change the domain of all URLs in your redirect mapping to the domain of the staging website. Crawl the list of old URLs you prepared, replacing the live domain with the staging domain. Then, using a vlookup ensure that each URL redirects to the precise URL that you have specified as a redirect target. If you detect any mistakes, fix them and crawl the list again until everything works as expected.
Avoid Redirect Loops
From an SEO perspective, a redirect loop (a closed chain of redirects) is the last thing you want to have. It could leave your users and bots trapped on the website due to endless cycles. Visitors will never see the destination page. The bots will also ultimately give up once they realize they are caught in a redirect loop. To summarize, redirect loops can be really bad for SEO and should be addressed right away.
When To Use Redirects
You need to use Redirects when:
• Migrating pages
• Merging content
• Removing pages
• Offering deals
• Switching to HTTPS
• Moving websites
• Combining two websites
Why Is URL Redirection Important?
Redirects are important, and failing to install them can affect your website’s search engine rankings and annoy users. Even if the page is being temporarily relocated, you must notify search engine bots and users about it.
When pages are removed, implementing a redirect prevents 404 HTTP error codes from being sent when visitors and crawlers attempt to visit URLs that no longer exist.
It redirects traffic to the new URL, and you will have a satisfied visitor who, despite changing the URL, will have the finest user experience. You smoothly drove them directly from one page to another.
Therefore, if you move a page for whatever reason, make sure to insert the redirect in your website; doing so will stop both your visitors and bots from abandoning it.
Types of URL Redirects
Redirects are typically divided into two types: client-side redirects and server-side redirects. Let’s look at these two more closely one by one:
1. Server-Side Redirects
This redirect, as the name implies, acts at the server level. A server receives an HTTP request for a file and responds with a suitable code signaling the redirection and its type – permanent or temporary.
The following are the most commonly used server-side redirects:
A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect that gives the rerouted page complete ranking authority. That is to say, the new page will have about the same link equity as the original one. This kind of redirect is most appropriate in situations when you need to drive people and bots to a new page location and you know the original URL won’t be returning.
When you want to restrict user access to a specific webpage for a limited period of time, implement 302 redirects. This one redirects visitors and bots to a new URL temporarily. However, you should know that since the 302 redirects are time-limited, it does not transfer page authority from the old page to the new one. This implies that the new URL will never interfere with the old file’s authority or links, and search engine crawlers will always treat it as distinct from it.
You can also employ 307 redirects to redirect users and search engines from one page to another temporarily. It is especially useful when the request method for the destination URL cannot be changed. Monthly contests with changing destination sites and special offer pages where consumers are sent to different promotions are two excellent cases for implementing 307 redirects.
2. Client-Side Redirects:
Redirects that are initiated by the browser’s request for a file are referred to as client-side redirects. In general, these redirects operate when a webmaster does not have access to or control over the server’s behavior. Client-side redirects fall into two categories:
This redirect is used to instruct a browser to refresh a page or load another URL after a certain number of seconds. Well, it is not a recommended SEO technique. For starters, it does not provide a positive user experience. Even though the users never see the original page since the redirect occurs in seconds, the file stays in their web history. Furthermore, it is also very time-consuming. The browser has to parse the original URL, extract the redirect and start it before the user can access the forwarded website.
Whether you are deleting a page, updating the URL structure, redirecting multiple domains to a single domain, or redeveloping your website, use a redirect and improve user experience and build site credibility. Redirects are vital from both SEO and a user standpoint. While its deployment may appear challenging to non-technical website owners at first. With a range of simple options, it is something you can tackle on your own.