What Is a Redirect? All You Need to Know

02 September 2022

What is Redirect?

Every web page has an address and a URL, which stands for 'Uniform Resource Locator.' Content can sometimes be moved from one URL to another. At that time, you will require a redirect. A redirect forces a browser to navigate from one URL to another URL automatically.It is not necessary for a redirect to point to the same website; it might point to any other URL. Cross-domain redirects are another name for redirects to different domains.

When Are Redirects Used?

There are many conditions in which one can use redirects. Below are some main reasons to apply redirects on your website:

  • Page Maintenance – While changing a page for any reason, you should apply a redirect to ensure that users can still access relevant information in the meantime.
  • Page Deletion – Sometimes, when you need to completely remove a Web page from your website. In such cases, a redirect link can be used to direct users to a different page that contains information similar to what was on the deleted page.
  • Mergers – When you merge two or more pages on your website, one of the original pages' links is likely to be lost. For the users, you can use a redirect from those pages to the merged page.
  • Change in Domain Name – If you launch a new website with a completely new domain name, you can use large-scale redirects for your previous website. This can help to preserve all of the inbound links you may have created on your old website and make it easier for old users to access your new website.

All of these above cases require a redirect.

How do redirects affect SEO?

Redirects are frequently useful tools. In general, it's best to avoid using redirects whenever possible.

Redirects slow website load times since they take longer to load than regular ones. Try to avoid using them if possible, at least not permanently. For example, if you want to create a new version of a page, try updating the original URL rather than creating a completely new page.

Keeping the original URL will result in faster page loads, happier users, and higher rankings. If you don't know about SEO, read the Beginners SEO guide, which helps you to understand SEO.

Types of redirects

Not every redirection is created alike. Depending on how long redirects have been in use or how they work, some have distinct uses than others. Here is an overview of the different redirect types you need to be familiar with.

Permanent vs temporary redirects

One of the most significant distinctions between redirect types is whether they are permanent or temporary — or the difference between 301 and 302 redirects. You'll only need a temporary one if you're just doing some maintenance on a page for a few days, but a domain change is much more permanent. When search engine crawlers encounter a temporary redirect, it tells them, "For the time being, go to this other page." The crawlers do not remember the temporary URL, so the next time they try to access that page, they will use the original URL.

However, with permanent redirects, the old URL is no longer used. The redirect informs crawlers that "this is the new URL." Forget about the old one.

Remember this one and return visit to it from now on." This means that on subsequent crawls, things will move faster.

Server-side redirects

Server-side redirects are those that happen on the server itself. What does this mean? When you visit a URL in a browser, the browser sends a request to the server, which then advises the browser to the appropriate page.

With a server-side redirect, the server handles the redirect — the browser requests URL A, and the server sends it to the new URL B instead.

This category contains the vast majority of redirects, including the two most common:

  • 301 redirect: A permanent redirect used for pages that have been deleted.
  • 302 redirect: A temporary redirect is used for pages that are under maintenance.

 

301 redirect:

In the case of a permanent redirect, a 301 redirect is used. For example, if you are relaunching a website, a 301 redirect is a great way to redirect your old URLs to your new website. 301 redirects have the significant advantage of transferring nearly 100% of the link authority of the original URLs to the redirects. This means that they notify search engines about the permanent change of your original URL and index your new page. This preserves the SEO metrics of your old URL and prevents any SERP downranking.

302 redirect:

302 redirects are used for temporary purposes. For example, if one or more of your pages are under maintenance or being worked on temporarily, you can use a 302 redirect for the original URLs. These redirects are automatically treated as temporary pages by search engines, which means that the page's SEO will remain unaffected.

The differences between the various types of redirects listed above can be subtle and technical, but they all qualify as server-side redirects.

What are client-side redirects?

While 301 and 302 redirects are the most commonly used, not all redirects occur on the server. Client-side redirects exist as well, in which the browser — the "client" — must handle the redirect itself.

When using these redirects, the server does not automatically redirect the browser to the new URL. Instead, when the browser makes its request, the server tells it, "Try asking for this other URL instead." The browser must then ask again. Client-side redirects are inadvisable to use because they involve a long process.

However, there are two types of client-side redirects:

  • Meta refresh: Refreshes the original page to a different URL
  • JavaScript: After the code is executed, the URL of the window is changed.

 

Meta refresh: Developers enable this type of CSR (Client Side Rendering) by including an HTML document's meta tag in its header. This is a simple method for creating a redirect. However, it takes several seconds for users to be redirected to the new page by the browser. This can have a negative impact on your page's SEO and usability. Furthermore, if meta refresh is used, the link authority is passed on to the target page.

JavaScript: JavaScript can also be used to redirect a page. However, in order to be redirected, the user must have JavaScript enabled on their browser. Maintain adherence to the guidelines while implementing.Again, understanding these both requires some technical knowledge, but you should avoid using them in general.

What are redirect loops?

The redirect loop is another issue to be aware of when using redirects. Redirect loops occur when a browser must navigate too many redirects to load the page.

This can happen when an old URL redirects to a new one, but the new one then redirects back to the old one, resulting in an endless cycle.

Other times, it happens because you move the location of a page multiple times, resulting in a chain of redirects. When a browser is forced to follow too many redirects in a row, it will display an error message informing users that there is a redirect loop. As a result, users cannot access either the old or new page.

Master Redirects for your Website

To execute redirects without negatively impacting your SEO, you must have domain expertise. TEQTOP is a leading SEO agency that can assist you in implementing all types of redirects and driving results. With dedicated SEO experts on hand to assist you throughout the process, we ensure that your redirects are carried out seamlessly without negatively impacting your rankings.

TEQTOP's SEO services allow you to set up and optimize all types of redirects and technical SEO elements on your website in order to achieve the best SERP rankings. Contact us right away to learn more.


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