Types of Redirects and When To Use Them
What Are Redirects
A redirect is the process of forwarding one URL to different URL. On websites you might have to tell servers to bring people to another URL. Its kinda like this, if you have ever moved to a new apartment or house you have to fill out a form at the post office and submit it. This was all of your mail gets forwarded to your new apartment or house.
Why Use Redirects
Redirects can be boring and tedious depending on the size of the project. This can lead to lower motivation and procrastination about getting the job done. However having pages with errors isn’t good for business. When an error happens it confuses, and upsets visitors. Visitors to the website with an error on it could trust the website less.
Not only do errors upset visitors but search engines. By not properly using a redirect to direct traffic to the right place your SEO rankings can be lower. The search engine can put less weight on your pages because they read it as a double copy, or see visitors are leaving the webpage because the content must not have helpful.
Reasons You Might Need To Redirects
There a few different reasons you need to use a redirect on your website.
- Deleting a page or post
- Moving your site to a new domain
- Dropping www. in your domain
- Enabling permalinks in WordPress
- Merging websites
- Changing your CMS (Content Management System)
- Changing your URL Structure
Types Of Redirects
The 3 most common redirects are;
- 301 Permanent Redirect
- 302 Found
- 307 Temporary Redirect
While these aren’t redirects they are extremely useful to know;
- 410 Content Deleted
- 451 Content Unavailable For Legal Reasons
301 Permanent Redirect
A 301 Permanent Redirect is the most common redirect that is used. Normally when you use this type of redirect it means that you changed something in your permalink structure, and are not ever going to use the old URL. This tells the search engines that the information that visitors might be looking for no longer exists at this location but can now be found here. Search engine then index the correct page and make sure that the old url isn’t being indexed. If the person in charge of the website or SEO doesn’t do a 301 permanent redirect or does it incorrectly, the website’s SEO rankings could lower and visitors will see a 404 error message.
301 Permanent Redirect Recap
- Most common redirect.
- Commonly used for permalink structure changes.
- Used when you have no intent of using old URL.
- Let’s search engines index the correct page.
A 302 Found is a temporary redirect, that tells the server that it has the information it’s requesting but it’s now in a new location. You would use this type of redirect if you intended on using the old URL again. For example let’s say your website has a page called Seasonal Offers, and every year you have a Cyber Monday Sale and a Christmas Sale. The cyber Monday sale’s url might be : www.mywebsiteexamples.com/seasonal-offers/cyber-monday-sale and your Christmas sale url might be www.mywebsiteexamples.com/seasonal-offers/christmas-sale. You might want to use the url’s for each of the sales pages again but redirect them to to show up on the Seasonal Offer page depending on what sale is currently going on. Even though the server knows to bring traffic to the other url a 302 Found doesn’t tell the server why the redirect is happening.
302 Found Recap
- Temporary Redirect.
- Tells server that the website has the information it’s just in a new location.
- Used if you intent on reusing the urls.
- Server doesn’t know why the redirect is happening.
307 Temporary Redirect
307 Temporary Redirect have replaced 302’s as valid temporary redirects after HTTP 1.1 came about. A 307 works in the same way as a 302 Found with one minor change. A server knows that the URL has been moved to a temporary location and will not be back in awhile.
307 Temporary Redirect Recap
- Replaces and is similar to a 302 Found
- The server knows why the content ways temporarily moved.
410 Content Deleted
A 410 Content Deleted code tells servers and visitors that the content has been deleted and isn’t coming back. This prevents 404 error codes, that hurt your SEO rankings and upset visitors.
410 Content Deleted Recap
- Tells search engines & visitors that content is deleted.
- Prevents 404 error codes
451 Content Unavailable For Legal Reasons
Sometimes for many different reasons a website might get a seize and assist letter or have a judge tell them they have to take down content from a page. This might because they shared information that was copy written, wasn’t suppose to be public, or another number of reasons. The main point of a 451 is to tell search engines that you would like to complete there request however you can’t for legal reasons.
451 Content Unavailable For Legal Reasons Recap
- Use when you can’t legal display content anymore.