If you own a website, you will often have to rework some web pages for a range of reasons, such as strengthening your SEO, adding more pages, updating the design, and more.
But how do you help your website visitors access the specific page or content you have reworked?
Here come the redirects!
Redirects — a coding technique — are a way to maintain accessibility for users and search engines when you rebrand your website, delete pages or change your website structure.
They also help in various other aspects, such as merging multiple websites, deleting a page/post, changing CMS, changing your URL, or moving a webpage to a new location.
However, navigating redirects can be overwhelming for most businesses, especially for those who lack technical knowledge. That’s because of the availability of multiple redirects for different scenarios.
To make it easier for you, we discuss everything about redirects here, along with the various types and how you can use them for SEO purposes.
READ: 7 Tried-and-True On-Page SEO Tips Your Website Needs
What are Redirects?
A redirect is primarily a way to send both website visitors and search engines to a different URL from the one they initially requested.
Simply put, redirects help forward users, search engines, and bots to a defined URL if they try to visit a page that is either deleted or not operational.
Here are some of the main reasons why you should use redirects:
A. Improve the user experience
Redirects are a great way to eliminate the hassle of your visitors getting hit with a roadblock, such as “page not found” when trying to access a web page that’s moved.
B. Make it easier for search engines to understand your website
Redirects also make it simpler for search engines to identify where you moved the content and if it’s permanent or temporary.
Different Types of Redirects and When to Use Them
Various types of redirects exist based on why you need to redirect the URL and whether it’s temporary or permanent.
Understanding the different redirect options lets you use the appropriate one in each scenario preventing SEO and user experience issues.
301 Redirect for Permanent Move
A 301 redirect sends users from one URL location to another permanently.
It lets search engines know that the URL requested initially is not available anymore, and there’s a replacement in place. They then replace the original URL in their index with the new one.
When to use a 301?
You should use 301 redirects when you’ve permanently removed a page from the website and still want to maintain its SEO rankings and traffic. You can also use a 301 redirect when routing an entire site to a new domain.
302 Redirect for Temporary Move
A 302 redirect is another common type that helps businesses move website traffic to a new location or URL temporarily.
It’s the best option when you plan to return a web page you removed to its original URL location later on.
When to use a 302?
- When you wish to redirect website visitors to an alternate webpage based on either their language or location preferences.
- When you want to move a website URL to another URL location.
- If your webpage is broken or is under maintenance, and you’re looking to redirect visitors to another location temporarily.
- When you wish to redirect your desktop website users to the mobile website and vice versa.
307 Redirect: Temporary Redirect
Quite similar to the 302 redirects, a 307 redirect is also temporary. It tells users that the webpage isn’t available and has been shifted to a temporary location.
When to use a 307?
The usage conditions and scenarios for 307 redirects are not different from 302 redirects. But it is recommended to use 307 redirects over 302 if you want to retain the HTTP method on a webpage.
410 Redirect: Content Deleted
A 410 redirect is essentially a content deleted redirect (or maintenance code) that you can use when a webpage has been deleted from the website and a suitable replacement is not available.
When to use a 410?
You should use redirect 410 when you wish to remove or delete a page completely. In case a URL takes the user to a 410, search engines will also identify that the URL has been removed and that they should delete it from their index.
READ: Components of a Domain Name
Improve SEO with Proper Use of Redirects
Redirects play an essential role in your SEO’s success. It helps search engines index your web pages properly for search rankings every time you make changes to your website. But it’s best to not implement them as much as possible.
If you need to do so, make sure you follow the best practices. Use them accordingly and avoid forwarding a redirect to another redirect.