URL's redirection which can also be said as URL forwarding is simply redirecting a user to some other URL than what was promised earlier. URL's redirection is very common phenomena in SEO and you should be aware of why and how to redirect a website URL. Redirecting a user from one URL to another can sometimes give a poor user experience as the user may land up on an unexpected page but it is still better than landing on a broken page. To ensure that the user lands on one of the legitimate pages of the website, you have to implement redirection in website.
As the name suggests, the difference is basically whether the redirect is temporary or permanent. In temporary redirect, you might restore the original URL in the future while you will not do this for a permanent redirect.
A permanent redirect is also called 301 Redirect and a temporary redirect is called 302 Redirect. Permanent redirects are mostly used as they pass the complete link juice to the redirected link which impacts SEO.
Let’s look at some reasons why URL redirection is employed in SEO in the first place. Some reasons are:
You might be looking to send a page URL to people either through email or through text. Sending long URLs would look pretty ridiculous and not practical and you may even be afraid of being taken for a technological laggard.
A URL like https://example.com/product/category/dresses/category_B/subcategory_C/Foo/ can be replaced with https://example.com/Foo and still get you to the same page.
Using a short URL through applications like TinyURL and then employing a redirection will be a good idea in a case like this.
You might have purchased multiple domain names for some good reason and instead of keeping them idle, you would want them to point to the same website.
www.example.com and www. example.in and www.example.co.in and many more may point to the same website. One of the domains says www.example.com will be a primary domain on the hosting server. The remaining two domains will have to be redirected in that case to point to the same website thus creating a redirection.
You might want to a new domain for some business reason. You might communicate this upcoming change on your current website for your users to notice and remember. Just to make sure that you do not miss out on users who you might not have reached or do not remember this, a URL redirection is what needs to be employed. Even if a user goes to the previous domain, he will be directed to the new URL and you will retain the traffic.
If you do not employ redirection on the website users may eventually land up on a 404 error page instead of going to the intended link. This will also impact your SEO as the link juice would not be passed to the new link you have created.
Good user experience and positive SEO impact should be a motivating factor for any webmaster to employ URL redirection.
Having been convinced of various reasons and its advantages of URL redirection, let's look at ways on how to get this implemented.
This redirection is the simplest redirection method to handle and does not require any coding skills. Simply log into your cPanel and look for the redirect tab in it. Click the tab which will direct you to the redirect page.
You can easily select whether you want a temporary or permanent redirection. Select the domain and the URL you want to redirect and fill in the link you want it to be redirected to. You can further select whether you want WWW or not in redirection and then submit. Once done, you can find the list of all the redirections done through cPanel below the form.
The meta refresh feature simply refreshes the [age after a small time gap and the user is easily redirected to the specified URL. It is considered as a 301 permanent redirect allowing passage of link juice.
You can also redirect a user to another URL using the HTML meta tag by putting the below code in the <head> section of the HTML file.
<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0; url=http://www.anotherwebsite.com/" />
This meta tag will redirect the user to http://www.anotherwebsite.com the moment the user lands on this page.
The process here is similar to the one in HTML tag above. Create a file, say redirect.php and place the below code in it.
header("HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently");
Whichever page you want to redirect, include the file in the page and that’s it. The first line of the code says that it is a permanent redirect while the second line shows where it is to be redirected to.
.htaccess file can also handle URL redirection easily and you do not have to make changes in your website coding anywhere.
You can try out the three options below as per your requirement:
1. Redirecting only a specific page of the website
Redirect 301 /oldURL.html http://www.example.com/newURL.html
2. Redirecting the whole website
You will not have to write redirects for each page using the above method and instead use the below code.
Redirect 301 / http://www.example.com/
This will redirect all pages to the new domain
3. Internal redirection from one page to another
If you are looking to redirect within the same website, use the below code:
Redirect 301 /example.com/oldpage.html http://www. example.com/newpage.html
Which method you use depends on your own technical capabilities and does not make a lot of difference. These URL redirection methods come in very handy for webmasters as it is required whenever you do some changes in the URL.
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