Digital MarketingSocial Media

Using Redirects for SEO

Discovering the Types of Redirects

There are several different types of redirects in the world of the Internet. These commands give you a way to redirect your site visitors from one URL (the web address of a page, such as www.wiley.com) to another.

Often, you need to use a redirect to reroute people linking to an old page to its replacement page, especially if your website undergoes reorganization so that files and directories have to be renamed and moved around. You also need to use redirects in the normal course of site maintenance, to help visitors coming to alternative URLs to get to the URLs that contain the content they’re looking for.

301 (permanent) Redirects

The 301 Redirect is the preferred and most SEO‐friendly form of redirect. Also known as a permanent redirect, the 301 Redirect informs a search engine that the page has been permanently moved to a new location. This is the cleanest redirect because there’s no ambiguity — the search engines get a clear message that one page is history and some other URL has now taken its place.

302 (temporary) Redirects

Another commonly used form of redirect is the 302 Redirect, which signifies Document Found Elsewhere. You use this redirect for temporary relocations of a web page. Search engines see the new page as only temporary and continue to crawl and index the original location, instead.

Reconciling your www and Non‐www URLs

How can you use redirects on a practical level? One common situation solved by a 301 Redirect involves how to reconcile your www and non‐www domains.

Having both versions is recommended because users have a tendency to type either of the versions into their browser, and you want to receive all that traffic. However, because these are treated as two different websites, you have to make it clear to them which address is the main, or canonical, site. Otherwise, you may end up competing against yourself for search engine rankings.

Implementing 301 Redirects

Of the four types of redirects we cover in Chapter 3 of this minibook (301 Redirect, 302 Redirect, Meta refresh, and JavaScript redirect), only the 301 Redirect passes the test for search engine optimization (SEO)– friendliness. In this chapter, we cover how to set up 301 Redirects and show you some specific situations that call for them. Because a lot of this explanation involves step‐by‐step instructions, we give a set of instructions for each kind of server. Your server is the software that runs your website. The server receives and “serves up” user requests to display pages or perform other site tasks.

Implementing a 301 Redirect with header inserts

An alternative way to implement 301 Redirects is by adding code directly into the page you want to redirect. Yes, it means opening and modifying each page individually, but sometimes that kind of granular control is a good thing — especially if you only need to redirect a few pages. Called a header insert, this method involves placing a small amount of server code into the HTML of each page you want to permanently redirect to another URL.

Last word

Be sure to keep any plug‐ins that are installed on your WordPress site updated. A plug‐in that is not maintained can leave your site open to hacking and malware. If any of your plug‐ins require updating, you see a little red number next to Plugins in the navigation when you’re signed in to WordPress.

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