Website Redirect: What is it and how does it impact SEO?

Website Redirect: What is it and how does it impact SEO?
Website Redirects are very important for both visitors interacting with the website and search engines. Redirects are crucial to preserving the SEO of websites. Top ranking websites in terms of SEO require the user experience to be faster, more comfortable, and more secure. In this blog, we will discuss the nuts and bolts of website redirects.


Technical Background

Website redirects are web code commands. A redirect happens when a web page is visited at an old URL and it later changes into a new URL. Consider this example: a user opens website.com/home in their browser and is then redirected to website.com/about-us.


Why are Website Redirects Useful?

Website redirects are very useful for SEO optimization of websites; let’s look at some examples of uses of website redirects.


Website Revamps (Moving the Site to a New Address)

There are many reasons why website redirects are used. For instance, you might need it for your website revamp: that is, when you are planning to move your site to a new address, a redirect will be very useful.


Generally, without taking the help of website redirects, the new URLs are always different, and the users who frequently visit the site do not know where to find the website, and website redirects take care of this problem.


Furthermore, optimizing the old sites for search engines takes a lot of time and depletes you of time resources, which could have spent on other more necessary matters. But by using redirects, this problem can also be dealt with.


Website Maintenance

Sometimes, the old website is under construction, which needs a temporary redirect necessary for the time being. When the website is under maintenance, the users interacting with the site can face many issues that can cause the website owner to lose their daily conversations. Employing a temporary redirect in your site conveniently takes care of these issues.


Taking the Mobile Phone or Tablet User to a Mobile Dedicated Site

Redirects also play a huge role in keeping the nature of your website responsive by redirecting the users to special mobile dedicated sites. In today’s times, most users prefer using smaller mobile screens such as the iPhone and tablets over computers.


Therefore, it’s necessary to have websites that are responsive to the smaller screen size of mobile devices. Most websites that work on computers do not work for mobile screens due to the smaller screen size.


Redirects are very helpful in redirecting your users to a mobile version of your domain. This allows the website owners not to lose their daily conversations and allows them to reach a wide group of users that frequently use mobile screens.


What Is A 301/302 Redirect?

As we are now done with what role does website redirects play as a part of your site, let’s now look at the two most frequently used types of website redirects. Those two types are 301 Redirects and 302 Redirects.


301 Redirect

301 Redirects are the most common types of redirects. Most of the time, the redirects users interact with on the sites are 301 redirects. 301 redirects are frequently used to achieve permanent URL redirects.


301 redirects are used to take the user from an old page to a new one, from an HTTP site to an HTTPS site, URLs, from multiple domains to a single domain, and taking the user from a “www” site to a “non-www” site.


301 redirects are considered the best method to implement redirects in a site. 301 redirects are fast and efficient, and most of the time, the user doesn’t realize that he has been redirected. That’s why 301 redirects are a great way to preserve the SEO of the website.


302 Redirects

302 redirects are temporary redirects. 302 redirects are frequently used for single redirects rather than whole sites. These 302 redirects are useful when a website is under maintenance, and you do not want users to interact with the contents of the site for the time being.


So, the website owner can use 302 redirects to redirect their site to another address temporarily. 302 redirects can also be used to test the performance of a web page. Most site owners, however, avoid 302 redirects and prefer 301 redirects to preserve the SEO of the websites.


What is an HTTP Redirect?

The HTTP redirect is the umbrella term for all kinds of redirects, which includes permanent redirects (301), temporary redirects (302), and Meta refresh.


As discussed above, the HTTP redirect code, which is also known as a redirect for short, is used to redirect users from one URL to another URL. This technique is also known as URL forwarding and is useful in giving the website more than one address.


When Should One Use HTTP Redirects?

So far, we have established that using HTTP redirects can be very useful in preserving the SEO structure of the site and redirecting the users, but are there some regulations to the use of redirects? Let’s look at some regulations.


1. Only Use Redirects When You Really Need Them

HTTP redirects are while useful to increase the load time and crawl budget of the site. For this reason, HTTP redirects should only be used when they are really needed, so the website doesn’t get overloaded with them.


Too many redirects on your site risk potentially slowing down your site, and it needs to be ensured that the redirects you are working with are necessary for the purpose you are using them for.


2. Avoid Chained Redirects

When using redirects, take care to not use chained redirects that happen when a URL is requested, and a redirector redirects the URL to another URL, and as a consequence, the particular URL is redirected as well.


Google only allows for five redirects, and after that, it aborts the process. To maintain the crawl budget, you need to avoid these redirects.


3. Make Sure That the Redirects are Relevant

You need to make sure that the URL you are redirecting the user to is relevant enough and do not conflict with the content of the site. This step is essential to both for satisfying the users and for Search Engine Optimization.


Thanks for reading 💚. Catalin is a senior engineer and co-founder of SEOly. You can find him on Twitter at @cionescu1.


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