What is a URL redirect?

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What is a URL redirect?

A URL, standing for 'Uniform Resource Locator' is the address of every page on the world wide web. A URL redirect is a technique to tell your visitors that the page they are looking for is available under a new URL address. Also called URL forwarding, URL redirect is performed by the practice of resolving an existing URL to a different one through your web browser.

Why do we need to redirect a URL?

There are a number of reasons why URL redirects are used.

To start with, content previously available at one URL may have been moved to another location. Businesses need to acquire domain names for their brands and trademarks. Redirecting these brands and trademarks to relevant pages helps build consistency and value.

Another reason is third-party platforms. They are becoming increasingly important to operations of many businesses today. E-commerce platforms (Shopify, Etsy, etc.), fundraisers (Kickstarter, Indigogo, etc.) or similar applications provide you a link to promote your service or sell your product. One disadvantage is that you generally cannot control the URL structure on these platforms. However, using memorable, dedicated domain names gives you that flexibility. Consider using exclusive domain names for marketing campaigns. When you print marketing collateral for campaigns, an easy-to-remember and easy-to-type domain name can link to relevant content on your main website. This is ideal for any type of signage and even extends to business cards.

What is the difference between permanent and temporary redirects?

The difference between a permanent and a temporary redirect is subtle but very important. In fact, they do the same thing: the user is redirected to a new URL. However, they have key differences:

A permanent redirect (HTTP status code 301) tells search engines that content previously found at the redirected URL will never appear again. The search engine follows the redirect link and updates its database to show the destination URL. It also maps the SEO value of the source URL to the target URL, allowing you to focus the SEO value as you wish. Some browsers even change associated bookmark campaigns.

A temporary redirect (HTTP status code 302 or 307) tells search engines that content previously available at that location may be available again at that location in the future.

As a result, the search engine will continue to refer to the page from the current URL and not the target URL. Temporary redirects do not affect SEO score.

With few exceptions, most URL redirects must be permanent. How can I set up URL redirects?

The difference between a permanent and a temporary redirect is subtle but very important.

Actually, they do the same thing: the user is redirected to a new URL. However, they also have differences and there are many ways to implement URL redirects. The first question to answer is whether redirections will be pointed to the same domain or to different domain.

When building a redirect to the same domain (i.e., only the path changes, not the domain name), you have two main options. You can use coding (e.g., Javascript, .NET, PHP, Ruby, Java, etc.) or web server configuration (e.g., Apache, Nginx, IIS etc.) While it is possible to do this via a meta tag in the HEAD section of your webpage, we do not recommend it. Meta tags don't use the correct HTTP status code thus can hurt your SEO. This post originally appeared on the Link-Tracker website.