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What Is A Redirect — Should You Use Web Redirects?

Have trouble setting up redirects on your website? Here’s all you need to know about when and why to set up website redirects and how they can impact SEO.

Stephanie Salud

Stephanie Salud — 15 minute read.

While reading online product reviews, have you ever noticed that instantly you are rerouted to the product page upon clicking on the product name?

Or, have you noticed how easily you could go to a new online article on the latest book releases while reading a book review? This is all because of website redirects. These redirects work as online reroutes that can take you from one website to another with one simple click.

Redirect

So, one minute you might be reading an article about a new author, and the next, you can go through their upcoming book releases — all thanks to redirects. However, setting up a working website redirect can be a bit tricky. And that’s why we’re here to help you.

A redirect is a tool that you can use on your website to send visitors to another page or website. There are a few different redirects, and each has a unique purpose. This blog post will explain what a redirect is and how you should use it. We’ll also discuss the different types of redirects and their purposes.

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What Is A Redirect?

It is a technique to help users reroute to a different website URL than the one they tried to open. The redirected website URL often contains similar or related information to the original URL, so it fulfils the purpose of the visit. Using various HTTP headers or an HTTP protocol to create temporary or permanent redirects to a new domain or page.

For instance, if you are writing a product review on the best bathroom faucets, you can set up a redirect code to reroute the visitors to the original product page. You can use the words “bathroom faucets” as the code line to redirect the visitors to the actual online shopping site from where they can purchase the products.

If your original website is down for some reason, you can add the link to a backup website. So, every time the users try to access your website, it will reroute them to the temporary backup website via the provided redirect link. Hence, they can easily access the information they’re looking for without much hassle.

Redirect Works

When To Use Redirects?

URL forwarding, otherwise known as a URL redirect, can be very useful in different situations, from enhancing the online traffic to comfortably switching to a new website page. This section will discuss some cases where you would need to use redirects.

1. Temporary Maintenance Of A Page

You often need to take down your original website page to improve and update it. Under such circumstances, it is always best to set up a backup page to avoid losing any of your followers.

You can use redirects to let your visitors access the temporary backup page until the original page is up and running again. In other words, it provides a great way to continue engaging with your followers when the initial web page is temporarily down.

2. Permanent Deletion Of A Page

At times, you might want to redesign your entire website and permanently delete some of the old pages. But, you might want to keep the content of these pages for your users.

In such cases, you can use redirects to reroute to a different page where they can check out the content of your old URLs. So, using redirects can be a good idea if you are planning to revamp your website but still want to keep the content of the old pages.

3. Page Merger

You can also use a redirect to merge two separate pages as a single page. By setting up a redirect on one page using a line of code, you can quickly reroute the users to the second page.

For any reason, if one of the URLs cannot function properly after the merger, you can always use the redirect to help the users gain access to the other page. Thus, users can efficiently go from one URL to another without external URLs.

4. Changing Domains

If you want to create an entirely new website on a different domain, it might be a good idea to preserve the internal links of the original website so that none of the content is lost. You can add redirects on the new website to reroute users to the original content.

A redirect link on the old website can help users access your new website. At the same time, the process helps enhance the visibility of your new website on the new domain among your existing followers.

How Can Redirects Impact SEO?

SEO or search engine optimisation rankings essentially indicate the online traffic of any website. SEO rankings are essential in getting users to visit your website. That said, setting up a URL redirect on your website should not affect the SEO ranking of the original page.

A redirect can indeed enhance the page’s visibility to which you’re trying to reroute the users. However, the circumstances under which you’re setting up a redirect can sometimes negatively impact the SEO ranking of the original website.

For instance, if you’re trying to reroute the users to your new website because the old website has stopped working, setting up a redirect can help enhance the SEO ranking of the new website. But, if you’re merging with a brand page, it might affect the SEO ranking of your original page.

It is best to carefully consider the situation before setting up a redirect on your website so that your SEO rankings do not suffer. At the same time, it is essential to set it up in a proper way so that the visibility of the original page isn’t compromised. 

Types Of Redirects

Not all redirects are the same; different types function in their ways and have various purposes. So, it is best to choose the type of redirect to set up on your website based on your needs and preferences.

To help you in choosing the correct redirect, we’ve compiled a list of different types of redirects in this section. Let’s take a look.

1. Permanent And Temporary Redirects

You can either go for a permanent or a temporary redirect based on your needs. For instance, if your redirected page needs some maintenance or an update, you can add a temporary redirect that’ll forward the users to the backup page.

In this case, the search engine crawler won’t memorise the URL of the new backup page. So, next time your users try to open the website, the crawler will direct them to the original page. In other words, they won’t be redirected to the backup page every time they open your website.

However, a domain change requires a much more permanent solution. Indeed, your old page is gone when you’re using a permanent redirect. The redirect URL forwarding will inform the search engine crawlers to memorise the new URL. So, your users will be automatically redirected to the new page each time they visit your website; they won’t need to access your old page to see the new page.

2. Server-Side Redirects

In most cases, the server controls the redirect by itself. Every time you use the internet browser to access an URL, the server will take you to the new page. For instance, the server may automatically take you from the original URL to the new URL.

It is evident that in the case of server-side redirects, you do not need to make any changes or commands to use the redirect. Here, the server itself handles everything. It is extremely fast and the most common redirect web page developers use. Plus, there are different server-side redirects that you can use as per your requirements.

A. 301 Redirects

The 301 redirects must always be used as a permanent redirect when you’re trying to permanently reroute the users to your new page while relaunching a website on a new domain. The best thing about 301 redirects is their ability to indicate search engines where users can find the required content in another URL.

So, the users can easily access the new page without going through the old page every time they visit your website. Also, you can increase the SEO ranking of your new page quickly and conveniently by rerouting using 301 redirects. You can set up a 301 redirect by using PHP or modifying the access file to accept the HTTP status code 301.

Power Redirect

B. 302 Redirects

The 302 redirects are temporary redirects when a page or website is tentatively down for maintenance purposes; using an HTTP status code of 302 will temporarily reroute traffic. Pages are automatically redirected to HTTP 1.0 while using 302 redirects. So, the users will always end up on the original page each time they try to access the website via any search engine.

Additionally, as the 302 redirect doesn’t automatically redirect to the new URL HTTP 1.1, it can affect the SEO rankings of the new page. Setting up a 302 redirect can be a time-consuming ordeal. Hence, you need to be very careful and consider all alternatives before you finally decide to set up a 302 redirect on the website.

Difference Redirect

C. 307 Redirects

Like the 302 redirects, the 307 redirect is also a temporary measure, but it is easier to set up. Web developers frequently implement 307 redirections when the websites are temporarily down for some reason or the other.

Although it is a temporary redirect, setting up a 307 redirect is similar to a permanent 301 redirect. You have to create a PHP file followed by a new htaccess file with the name htaccess.307 that’ll reroute the visitors to the new page once they access the website. Again, keep in mind that this htaccess file temporarily redirects visitors to the backup page.

Site Tree Redirects

1. Client-Side Redirects

Client-side are much more complicated than server-side redirects as you, the client, have to set it up by making changes in the website’s source code. Here, no changes are made on the server. Furthermore, the browser is rerouted to the new page in client-side redirects without updating the server.

It can also take time while loading the new page if you’re using client-side redirects. Hence, they are not usually recommended for enhancing the SEO rankings of the website. However, you should know about the two major types of client-side redirects that are typically used.

A. Meta Refresh

Have you waited for a few seconds on a web page before getting rerouted to a new URL? Then, you have experienced a meta refresh redirect.

The original page refreshes while rerouting you to the new URL in a meta refresh redirect.

In this type of client-side redirect, the meta refresh redirect reroutes the browser to the redirected page without changing the server.

It usually takes a few seconds to refresh the old page and redirect the users to the new page. While setting up the meta refresh redirect, you can also mention the time it will take for the old page to reroute the users to the new URL.

As you may have guessed, this method leads to poor SEO rankings of the web page as the visitors often have to wait to be rerouted from one page to the other.

B. JavaScript Redirects

Redirects via JavaScript are usually not recommended for any website as the users need to have a JavaScript-enabled browser for this function to work. However, in the case of any sudden emergency, you can add JavaScript redirects as a temporary measure.

As it is client-based, you have to manually add the JavaScript code to set up the redirect URL properly. Additionally, it can take a lot of time to load the new page using this redirect, even if the browser is JavaScript-enabled. Thus, there’s a high chance that a JavaScript redirect will adversely impact the SEO rankings of your website.

Using JavaScript, you are redirection that’ll automatically redirect you to a different URL.

How To Set Up A Redirect?

Like we said earlier, you can use different techniques to set up a permanent or a temporary redirect based on your needs and preferences. Most web designers and developers use multiple methods to set up a redirect.

So, if you are still confused about the methods of setting up a proper redirect on the website, we’re here to help you. This section will provide the instructions for setting up a redirect for three of the most-used options.

1. Setting Up A Website Redirect In cPanel

After signing into your cPanel account, go to the “Domains” section and click on the icon for “Redirects”. After clicking on the “Redirect” option, a dropdown menu will appear, showing you the different redirect types. Here, you choose between a permanent or a temporary redirect under the Type option.

You can choose the domain you’re trying to set up the redirect in the following menu. Next, select the appropriate domain from the dropdown menu. Then, fill in both the pages that you want to merge using the redirect.

Finally, put in the full URL of the new page to which you want to redirect the users once they visit the website. And that’s it; your permanent redirect will be added to your cPanel website.

2. Setting Up A Website Redirect In Gator

You can also use the Gator Website Builder for setting up a redirect on your website. First off, select the Edit Site option for the website you want to set up the redirect. Then, click on the “Redirects” option from the “Manage” menu. After that, click on the “Add Rule” option to enter the web page address to which you want to redirect the users.

Then, choose the type of redirect that you want to add to your website. You can either add the URL of the new page or select the page to which you wish to redirect the old URL. As a final step, click on the “OK” button to set up your chosen redirect option.

3. Setting Up A Website Redirect In WordPress

If you’re a full-time blogger, you probably use WordPress as your preferred platform. It is best to know how to set up redirects on WordPress. The most convenient option to set up a redirect on WordPress is adding plugins. First, select the “Add New” option from the “Plugins” menu and install and activate new plugins.

Once you have installed and set up the new plugins, you’ll be able to use the “Domain Redirection” option listed under “Tools”. Click on “Redirects” under the “Redirection” option and fill in all the information for the new URL you want to reroute your visitors. Then finally, click on the “Add Redirect” option to create redirects on your WordPress website or blog.

How To Check Your Redirects?

It is essential to set it up correctly, as a broken redirect URL can bring down the SEO rankings of your website. You must check whether it is working correctly or not. Fortunately, there are several tools that you can use to check whether the redirect is functioning correctly.

For instance, Link Redirect Trace, a Google Chrome browser extension, can help you look for incorrect or broken redirects. Once you find the flaws, you can make immediate changes and maintain the SEO rankings of your website.

Alternatively, Google Search Console is also an effective tool for checking redirects. It helps to detect 404 errors so that you can fix them right away without going through each page.

What Are Redirect Loops?

The browser often fails to open a new page when it has to go through multiple redirects. It can happen if an old URL redirects the users to a new URL, but the new URL redirects them back to the old URL forwarding. And thus, an endless redirect loop is created.

In addition to this, redirect chains can also cause significant problems for the browser while it is trying to access a new page. It happens when the browser has to move through multiple redirects. Thus, it shows an error message to the users, and they cannot visit the new page.

Redirect loops can inadvertently affect the SEO rankings of the website by reducing the number of visits. So, it is better to be careful while setting up multiple redirects on your website to avoid creating a redirect loop.

Risks Of Setting Up A Redirects

The significant risk of setting up a redirect is the slow performance of the website. Every time you set up a URL redirect on the website, you add an extra step for the server.

So, with more redirects, the performance of your website gradually slows down and becomes limited. This can negatively impact the SEO rankings of the website. Hence, we recommend adding unnecessary redirects to the website.

Furthermore, you risk creating redirect loops or redirect chains that prevent visitors from going to the original or new web page by adding more redirects. Instead, they’ll be stuck in an endless redirect loop going back and forth. So, your website’s online traffic can drop significantly, reducing your SEO rankings.

Understanding Redirects

Building a visually appealing website by adding proper redirects can be tricky. After going through our article, we hope you better understand different types of redirects and how they work.

We’ll suggest you always go for redirects that can enhance the SEO rankings of the website, such as the 301 redirect. Also, avoid adding too many redirects on the website, creating endless redirect chains and reducing online traffic. In other words, only add redirects when it is necessary.

Hopefully, this blog post has made you aware of the different types of redirects and how they work. We encourage you to try out a few on your website or contact us for more information about our services! ‍

We hope that answers all your questions. Until next time!

Stephanie Salud

Stephanie Salud

Stephanie comes from a background specialising in off-page SEO, from link building, citations and strategic brand placements to increase search rankings. Stephanie brings to the team a unique approach to off-page and on-page optimisations for our clients.

Find them on their website: sitecentre® and LinkedIn.

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