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App DevelopmentComputers and TechnologyDigital Marketing

What Is a Redirect and How Should You Use It?

Brooke is driving to her university’s biology class. As she walks into her usual classroom, she notices that it is occupied by maintenance workers who are attempting to repair a ceiling leak.

Then she notices a message on the door saying, “Class changed to room 314.” She reroutes to room 314 and meets the rest of the class there, following the note’s instructions.

Although the scenario above takes place in a real environment, moving and rerouting can also take place online. When this happens, it happens as a result of a redirect. The use of redirects is ubiquitous, and they have a substantial impact on search engine optimization (SEO). It is better to hire a web development company to carry out this task.

But what are redirects, and how do they affect the SEO of your site? Continue reading to find out more. Then use our SEO analyzer to discover where your site stands in terms of redirects.

What is a Redirect?

Simply said, a redirect is a piece of code that instructs browsers to send users to a different URL from the one they were trying to reach. The new URL should have similar information to the original in order to serve the same purpose.

Consider the following scenario: you offer mattresses, and a user wants to learn more about your queen-sized mattress options. They begin by going to your homepage and clicking on a link to your “Queen” page. The URL for that page is:

https://mattressco.com/queen-options/

However, for some reason, that page is presently unavailable, and you must direct users to a different page until it is restored. As a result, you set up a redirect on that page. As a result, anytime a user tries to access that URL, they are immediately redirected to:

https://mattressco.com/king-and-queen-mattresses/

Users should be able to locate similar information to the original on the redirected page, and they will be able to do so without the aggravation of a page outage.

When should you use redirects?

Redirects come in handy in a variety of scenarios. The following are some of the most common scenarios in which you might want to employ redirects on your website:

  • Temporary page maintenance: If you need to take a page down to rework or upgrade it, you can redirect viewers to another page in the meanwhile.
  • Permanent page deletion: You may wish to remove a page from your site entirely, but you’ll want the links that go to it, so you’ll redirect to a new URL.
  • Page merger: A redirect can also be used to combine two different pages into one. You can redirect from at least one of the original URLs because it won’t survive the merger.
  • Domain change: If you’re creating a completely new website on a different domain, you might wish to utilize redirects on a broad scale to keep the original’s inbound links.

All these situations could call for a redirect.

How do redirects affect SEO?

Redirects are frequently useful. In general, however, it’s best to avoid redirects if possible.

Redirects take longer to load than regular pages, causing your page load times to slow down. As a result, try not to use them unless absolutely necessary — at least not on a long-term basis.

If you wish to make a new version of a page, for example, instead of establishing a new page, try updating the original URL. Maintaining the original URL will result in faster website loads, happy users, and higher rankings.

Types of redirects

All redirects aren’t created equal. Depending on how long they’ve been in use or how they work, some serve distinct roles than others.

 

Here’s a rundown of the many redirect types you should be aware of.

Permanent vs. temporary redirects

One of the most important differences between redirect types is whether they are permanent or temporary. You’ll only need a temporary one if you’re simply doing some maintenance on a page for a few days, but a domain change is far more permanent.

When search engine crawlers come across a temporary redirect, it effectively tells them, “For the time being, go to this other website.” The crawlers don’t remember the temporary URL, so the next time they try to access that page, they’ll go to the original URL.

Permanent redirection, on the other hand, ensures that the old URL is never utilized again. “This is the new URL,” the redirect informs the spiders. Don’t bother with the old one. Remember this one and come back to it from now on.” This indicates that things will move faster in the following crawls.

Server-side redirects

Redirects that happen on the server are known as server-side redirects.

What exactly does that imply? When you visit a URL in your browser, it sends a request to the server, which then directs the browser to the appropriate page.

With a server-side redirect, the server takes care of the redirect – the browser requests URL A, but the server sends it to the new URL B instead.

The majority of redirects fit into this category, including the two most common:

  • 301 redirect: Permanent redirect used for deleted pages
  • 302 redirect: Temporary redirect used for pages under maintenance

Client-side redirects

Although 301 and 302 redirects are the most prevalent, not all redirects take place on the server. Client-side redirects are also possible, in which the browser — the “client” — is responsible for the redirect.

The server does not automatically redirect the browser to the new URL when using these redirects. Instead, when the browser sends a request, the server informs it to “try this other URL instead.” The browser will then have to inquire a second time.

Client-side redirects are much slower than server-side redirects since they involve a long process. Client-side redirection can be divided into two categories:

  • Meta refresh: Refreshes the original page to a different URL
  • JavaScript: Changes the window’s URL after the code is run

Again, these both involve some technical know-how to fully understand, but you generally want to avoid using them anyway.

Redirect loops

The redirect loop is a final issue to be aware of while employing redirects. When a browser has to go through too many redirects to load a page, a redirect loop occurs.

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 a never-ending cycle. It can also happen if you move a page’s position many 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 visitors that a redirect loop has occurred. As a result, users are unable to access either the old or new pages.

Take care to check for loops every time you put up redirects to avoid this issue. Screaming Frog and Ahrefs are two tools that may generate reports that can alert you to any redirect loops on your site!

Bottom Line

You need to employ redirects on your site, but you’re worried about how they’ll affect your SEO? United Sol has the ability to calm your nerves. We’ve been using and optimizing redirects for over 20 years and have a lot of experience with them.

Our SEO services will assist you in putting up all of the necessary redirects as well as optimizing all other aspects of your site to attain top Google results. You’ll even be assigned a personal account representative who will keep you up to date on everything we do.

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