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Redirect is the technique of passing one URL to a different URL. It sends both the users and search engines to another URL from where they are originally requested. The World Wide Web (WWW) uses HTTP protocol that redirects the response with the status code beginning with 3 that manipulates the search engines to show a different page. HTTP status codes are 3XX.
With 3XX redirection, the request is received but there’s a redirection to some other pages. You might want to redirect a website when the URL is not working as it should be, you have a different website than you have requested, or when you want users to go to another page while the old website is under construction in terms of design and functionality. So, visitors can be served smoothly. It is also used when the website is no more active.
Generally, there are three types of redirects that are most commonly used. They are as follows:
- 301 Redirect
- 302 Redirect
- Meta Refresh
Here, we only talk about 301 and 302 redirects.
1. 301 Redirect
301 redirects transmit the message to the browsers that a website has been permanently moved from one location to another. The term “permanent” here means at least a year. 301 redirect is not good for temporary changes. It guarantees that users and browsers are sent to the correct page. It is the most used method for implementing redirects on websites.
A 301 redirect means the searcher that lands on the page are transferred to the new URL. Once 301 redirections are used, your website will not gain its original traffic value, page rank, and authority.
After 301 redirections, the users will see the new URL since it has replaced the old page as you can see in the browsers. It is a much safer way to redirect than 302 redirects. 301 redirects refer to the status code “Moved Permanently”.
SEO benefits of 301 redirects:
- 301 redirects keep visitors to your websites involved.
- This type of redirect passes to the next site which has a high SEO ranking.
- It assists the search engines to remove the old page from its index and replace it with the new one.
When to use 301 redirects?
This type of redirect is used when people purchase domains that they want to be sent to their primary domain. Most people leave the “www” part when writing the websites’ names. Therefore, a permanent redirect will make sure they appear on your site even if they forget to type “www”. 301 redirect is also suitable if you combine two websites.
Also, read Sitemap – SEO Solutions Sitemap with its Importance.
2. 302 Redirect
If the websites have been moved temporarily, the search engines need to know. 302 redirect lets search engines know about it. It is similar to 301 redirects where the searcher is passed to the new page but link equity may not be passed along. It is only preferred for temporary redirects. 302 redirects refer to the status code “Moved Temporarily”.
SEO benefits of 302 redirects are:
- Websites and pages are only moved temporarily.
- It regains the website ranking, traffic value, and rights after the problem is resolved.
When to use 302 redirects?
You will want to use this type of redirect if you want to send a new site or page for a short period of time. When you are updating your website 302 or when you are thinking of bringing the old page back 302 redirects can be of use. You can also use 302 redirects to get the visitor’s feedback without degrading the rank of your websites when testing your new websites.
Impact of Redirects on SEO
When 301 redirection is in use, search engines remove the old website from its index and pass the next highest rank page with the same subject. And hence, the search engines take some time to notice the change and see any changes in the rankings. As a result, it can alter the traffic on your websites.
Whereas, when correctly used, 302 redirect does not alter the SEO of your websites. This is because the originally placed websites remain in their rank when the new link is transferred to the searcher temporarily. So, your website will regain its initial ranking, authority, and traffic value you page have.
The real problem arises when users do not know to use redirects correctly. This is why it is important to know the differences between both redirects before using them.
Also read: SEO vs SEM