Redirects: A Comprehensive Guide to URL Redirection

This article will guide you through the process of setting up URL redirections on your website.

The “url redirection attack” is a type of attack that redirects users to websites or apps with malicious intent. This article will provide comprehensive information on the topic.

When content is relocated to a new place, a page is removed from a site, or the domain name is changed, redirects are used to redirect both website users and search engines from one page to another. 

They’re necessary for both SEO and user experience, since neither users nor search engines want to be directed to a website that no longer exists. 

However, there are many distinct sorts of redirects, as well as a variety of situations in which each should and should not be utilized. 

In this post, I’ll go over all you need to know about redirects, clear up some of the most often asked issues, and help you figure out which kind to utilize in certain cases.

I’ll go through the following points in detail:

What Are Redirects, and Why Do They Matter?

Simply said, redirects are a method of redirecting visitors (or search engine bots) from one URL to another when the original is no longer available.

Anyone who arrives on a page that has been relocated or removed will get an error if there is no redirect in place. 

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However, why are redirects so crucial? 

Users who expect to view a live web page will be disappointed when they arrive on an error page. This might force people to bounce or abandon the site, which means the chances of them becoming a customer, client, or even an email subscriber are greatly reduced.

We expect to be directed to the appropriate website when we click a link, not given an error because it has been relocated or deleted.

But only if there isn’t a redirect in place. 

Use a redirect to guide visitors to the new URL, and you’ll have a pleased visitor who gets to where they meant to go despite the changing URL. You took them directly from page A to page B.

When a page produces a 404 status code (or similar not found error, such as 410), search engines will immediately remove it from the index, thus removing it from whatever SERP ranks it previously had.

Even if the page is just temporarily relocated, search engine bots must be notified.

Let’s not forget that any backlinks pointing to a 404 page will not be counted by the algorithm and will therefore be squandered (yes, this does happen, and a review of some of the world’s most prominent brand’s websites found that thousands of fantastic links are being lost as a result of this problem).

Failure to employ redirects may lead to a loss of search engine rankings as well as unhappy visitors. 

So, whether you’re redeveloping your website and altering the URL structure of your pages, migrating to a new domain, or just cleaning up outdated information on a regular basis, you need to grasp the necessity of redirects and when to utilize them. 

When Should You Use Redirects?

When you need to employ redirects, you should:

  • You change a web page’s URL (from URL A to URL B).
  • You get rid of a page that gets a lot of traffic or has a lot of backlinks pointing to it.
  • The structure of your website evolves as you redesign it.
  • You change the domain name of your website.
  • You combine two or more websites into one.
  • You make the switch from HTTP to HTTPS.
  • Duplicate material on trailing-slash or non-www URLs must be avoided.

You may simply need to redirect a single URL (or a series of single URLs) or a directory on a website at times. You may need to reroute a whole domain at times. However, you must be aware that various sorts of redirects must be used based on the scenario and the final aim.

Recognizing the Various Types of Redirects

The sort of redirect you use is mostly determined by the cause for the change and whether it is temporary or permanent.

Knowing the many redirect choices allows you to choose the best one for each situation and avoid SEO or user experience difficulties. 

However, be warned that employing the incorrect sort of redirect, as well as not using redirects at all, may result in a loss of search engine rankings in certain situations. If you have a complicated scenario and are unclear which redirect type to employ to avoid difficulties, or whether you even need to utilize redirects at all, you should get guidance from an expert SEO.

Redirects from HTTP

Perhaps the most commonly used type of redirects are Redirects from HTTP. 

“A HTTP Redirect is a richer way to redirect because it gives the User-Agent more information than just the new address,” according to the W3C, “because the server also gives some information about the purpose and type of redirection, which allows the User-Agent to behave differently depending on the type of redirect.”

And it is this information about the redirect’s purpose and nature that makes it so popular, since it allows you to offer alternative directions based on the scenario.

But what are the different types of Redirects from HTTP and which should you use when?

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Redirects to 301 (Moved Permanently)

A 301 redirect signifies that the content of the old URL has been permanently relocated to a new URL. 

When you need to lead visitors and search engines to a new page address and the old URL won’t be returning, use this form of redirect. 

These are by far the most prevalent and discussed redirects, and they are one of the most fundamental SEO concepts, since they may not only forward people but also pass on PageRank.

This implies that, in most cases, backlink authority is passed on to the new page, as long as the new page’s subject closely matches the old.

This 301 redirects guide might help you learn more about it.

302 Redirects (Found & Moved Temporarily)

A 302 redirect sends a user from page A to page B while also indicating that this is simply a temporary change and that the original URL will be restored. 

302 redirects did not previously pass PageRank and were therefore known to create SEO difficulties. 

This is no longer the case, since it was established in 2016 that they do, in fact, convey link authority. According to Google’s John Mueller:

The claim that 302 redirects don’t pass link PageRank is false. That is a fallacy.

— Google’s John Mueller

This form of redirect should only be used in situations when the change is only temporary, such as when A/B testing a new page design or redirecting visitors to a different URL depending on their location or device.

Many SEOs also feel that if 302 redirects are kept in place for an extended length of time, Google will regard them as 301 redirects. Even if PageRank does flow, the objective and the method they are handled are vastly different. 

URLs will be consolidated in Google’s index once a 301 redirect is in place. With 302s, however, the original is still indexed and will continue to rank. Before deploying 301s or 302s, take cautious to consider if the change is permanent. 

These are the two most typical sorts of redirects, although there are others that you may see from time to time.

Redirects 303 (See Other)

303 redirects may be used to signal that the redirects don’t connect to the freshly uploaded resources, but to another page. They’re seldom discussed in the context of SEO (for the simple reason that this form of redirect has nothing to do with it… at all) (such as a confirmation page or an upload progress page). 

These may be used to prevent the contents of a form from being resubmitted when a user presses the back button on their browser, for example.

Redirects: 307 (Moved Temporarily)

A 307 redirect is the HTTP 1.1 counterpart of a 302, and it may be used when a URL needs to be temporarily redirected. 

Redirects: 308 (Moved Permanently)

308 redirects, like 301 redirects, signify a permanent change. You may use any of these sorts of redirects since they are equivalent.

Redirects in JavaScript

Users and search engines may be redirected from one page to another using JavaScript. For a long time, Google couldn’t tell the difference between them and server-side HTML redirection. 

However, John Mueller confirmed in 2019 that, “We support Redirects in JavaScript of different types and follow them similar to how we’d follow server-side redirects.”

Because Google has grown quite proficient at rendering JavaScript, the worries about these types of redirection should no longer exist, and there is evidence that they now pass PageRank.

Redirects to Meta Refresh

It is possible to redirect one page to another client-side, unlike HTML redirects, which are handled server-side (in the browser).

This is known as a meta refresh redirect, where a meta tag in a page’s <head></head> section instructs the browser to go to another page after a specified length of time. 

This style of redirect is often used in conjunction with a countdown that alerts the user that they will be redirected in a certain number of seconds. 

Google has stated that they are treated in the same manner as any other redirect. However, because to the time it takes to process and the fact that the original page is saved in the browser’s history, they still provide a poor user experience. 

The refresh time should be either 0 or 1 second for them to be handled the same as a 301 redirect.

Redirects are often implemented in the following ways.

Redirects are done in a variety of ways, depending on your web server settings and CMS. Here are some of the most frequent methods to implement redirects as a general rule:

  • You may do this by modifying the.htaccess file on your website (when hosted on an Apache server).
  • You may do this by including a server block in your nginx.conf file (when your server runs Nginx).
  • When running a Lighttpd server, import the mod redirect module and use url.redirect.
  • If you’re using WordPress, you may utilize the ‘Easy Redirects Manager’ plugin.
  • If you’re using Magento, you can use the built-in URL rewrites module.
  • If you’re using Shopify, you can utilize the built-in URL redirection feature.

As referenced above, Redirects to Meta Refresh and Redirects in JavaScript (as well as PHP redirects) are other alternatives to redirect users, but they do not come recommended as an SEO-friendly solution.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Perfecting Redirects and Avoiding Common Mistakes

While understanding the need of redirects is fairly obvious, implementing them poorly might result in SEO and user experience concerns. On your own or your client’s website, there are several typical issues that you should be aware of and endeavor to avoid.

Always reroute to content that is a close match.

If you redirect one page to another, be sure the new page’s content is almost identical to the old page’s; otherwise, the redirect will be treated as a soft 404.

When a consumer clicks on a link to a website that offers red gowns, they want to look around. They wouldn’t want (or expect) to be sent to a website selling “jeans.” It would be okay to redirect to a top-level dresses category if the shop no longer offered red dresses, for example.

Redirect Chains and Loops should be avoided.

Redirect loops and redirect chains are two prevalent issues with redirects. In fact, according to one research on internal linking errors, 8.3 percent of websites had these difficulties.

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Simply put, a redirect chain occurs when there are many redirects between the original URL and the final URL, which often occurs as a consequence of website migrations.

Let’s assume your about page was formerly located at /about-the-company/ (A) before being relocated to /about-us/. (B). You’ve now started a new website and updated this page’s URL to /about/. (C).

You’ve formed a redirect chain if A redirects to B, and B redirects to C.

These are pointless and should be avoided at all costs. If you have any that aren’t up to date, they should be (in this example, you would redirect straight from A to C, even if you also needed to redirect from B to C.)

The destination cannot be reached in a reroute loop. Consider the situation where you wish to redirect from A to C, but C also wants to redirect to A. Again, this should be avoided since the redirect is faulty and will not route users or search engines to the intended location.

You may use the Webinomy site audit tool to check for and learn more about difficulties caused by redirect chains and loops.

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Internal Redirects Should Be Avoided

When you change a page’s URL, it’s easy to forget to go back and update internal links to go to the new destination, particularly if you’ve set up redirects.

Given that you have complete control over how internal links are redirected, these redirects are unnecessary. 

Of course, having these URLs is crucial; just make sure you change the destination of internal links in your site’s content to prevent redirecting people and search engines when it isn’t necessary.

Errors in Sitemaps are Identified and Corrected

utilizing the Audit Tool for Sites

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If the move isn’t permanent, don’t use 302 redirects.

Although we’ve previously discussed how search engines treat 301 and 302 redirects differently, you should carefully examine which form is best for you.

This usually entails avoiding the usage of 302 redirects unless the transfer is very temporary and won’t last long.

Remember that 302 redirects, for example, do not disappear from Google’s index.

In fact, according to the Webinomy survey, 32.2 percent of websites are employing temporary redirects inappropriately, with a median website having 1.42 percent of its pages using this form of redirect. 

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Avoiding Duplicate URLs by Redirecting

It’s fairly unusual for a site to have many URLs (www and non-www, HTTP and HTTPS are two different protocols., and so on), but this can be simply rectified by 301 redirecting all versions to a single canonical URL.

Make careful you utilize redirects to avoid having duplicate URLs between:

  • www and non-www
  • HTTP and HTTPS are two different protocols.
  • URLs with and without a trailing slash (/)
  • URLs that are capitalized and lowercase

Redirecting to Recover Lost Link Authority and Fix Linked 404 Errors

Did you aware that backlinks pointing to a 404 page are ignored by Google?

Webinomy’s backlink analytics tool may help you find 404 sites with links going to them. 

Simply go to your finished report’s Indexed Pages page and check the Target URL Error box. You’ll be presented with a list of 404’d URLs with links pointing to them, which you can now ignore and 301 redirect to a near match page to recoup lost link authority.

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Redirect Questions That Are Frequently Asked

We’ve gone over what redirects are, how to use them, and how to prevent common problems, but now it’s time to address some of the most often asked concerns about them.

Yes.

Even when a 302 redirect is utilized, PageRank will be sent down to redirects if the content on Page A and Page B are almost identical. When the content does not match, the redirect is classified as a soft 404 and does not affect PageRank.

When passing link authority to a new URL, however, 301 redirects should be used instead.

Find out more about backlink profiles.

with the help of the Backlink Analyzer

ADS illustration

Is it true that redirects are bad for SEO?

No, redirects aren’t harmful to your SEO.

In many respects, they are the polar opposite; as long as they are utilized correctly, that is.

Consider this: if you don’t employ redirects and instead relocate or erase a URL, neither visitors nor search engines will be redirected to the new page when they arrive at the old URL. This might lead to a decline in keyword ranks and people leaving the site. 

When redirects are employed, they assist in avoiding these problems.

Redirects, on the other hand, should not be utilized excessively, and problems like redirect chains and loops should be avoided wherever feasible. 

How Long Should Redirects Be Left in Place?

This is a frequently debated topic amongst SEOs, but it has been confirmed by John Mueller from Google that, “After a few years the old URLs are often no longer accessed & you can drop those redirects.”

@JohnMu, how are you today? Is there a time limit for keeping a 301 redirect? In conclusion, should 301 redirects be kept indefinitely or must they be removed after a certain period of time? #SEO

January 18, 2019 — Hamidou (@MidouDiallo)

We suggest that you maintain redirects in place for at least three years, based on John’s advice and other experiences. However, if the number isn’t important, it’s not a problem if it’s a little longer. 

What Is the Best Way to Test Redirects?

When you visit a URL, you may be redirected to a different address, indicating that a redirect is in place. But how do you test redirects to see if they’re operating correctly and whether they’re 301s or 302s?

In your site audit report and Google Search Console, you may notice both temporary and permanent redirection.

You may use a tool like httpstatus.io to check the status of a given URL.

To Recap

Redirects are an important aspect of SEO, but their use extends well beyond that. 

When changing the location of a web page, you must employ redirects. If you don’t, consumers and search engines won’t be redirected to the new one, which may create SEO concerns as well as customer churn.

Take the time to study how redirects operate, the numerous sorts you may employ, and try them out, and you’ll be ready to utilize them and avoid the most prevalent concerns.


Remember to use the Webinomy site audit tool to learn more about difficulties with your website caused by redirect chains and loops.

URL redirection is a service that allows you to redirect URLs to another URL. This is an incredibly helpful tool for marketers who want to promote their products or services without having to pay for advertising. Reference: url redirect service.

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