A Brief Guide to Employ Page Redirects the Proper Way

Page redirects are used quite extensively as a part of best SEO practices. It forwards search engines and visitors to another destination URL, instead of the requested one. There are different kinds of redirects, so you need to know which to use and how they differ from one another.

Why are redirects significant?

When a URL is moved, redirects are crucial for visitors and the search bots.

  • Visitors – User experience is crucial for every website. When a previously available URL is requested, the visitor can hit a 404 error page, which can incur a bad user experience. You can lose a potential customer forever. Instead, with redirects, the visitor is automatically transferred to the new and relevant URL destination.
  • Search bots – Search engines must be made aware of the change of URL. In this way, you give a hint to the crawlers to switch the old URL index with the new one. It is crucial for SEO performance.

Temporary and permanent situations to use WordPress redirection plugin are given below.

  • Delete pages
  • Move URL
  • Change domain address
  • Merge websites
  • Maintenance or redesigning site layout

Redirects are status codes that allow bots to encode the meaning. For example, 301 status codes are permanent move of the post, page or domain. Alternatively, 302 redirects are used for a temporary or limited time. The commonly used redirects are 301 and 302. 

How do 301 and 302 redirects differ?

Visitors will not understand the difference between 301 and 302 redirects, but for the crawlers, both are totally different.

  • The 301 redirects are permanent, so the search engine indexes the new URL. It even passes a 95% to 99% link value to the new URL. 
  • The 302 redirects are temporary. Search crawlers are made aware that the change of URL is temporary. It does not pass page authority from old to new URL. 

SEO professionals make sure that 302 redirects are not applied for more than 6 months. The potential that crawlers may start regarding 302 as soft 301 redirects increases. It is because the situation seems stable or permanent to the crawlers. Ultimately, the page authority will also be passed like in 301 redirects. 

Best redirection practices

  • Redirect to relevant URL – It is crucial from user’s perceptions and even searches bots deem so. Irrelevant redirects can damage the transfer of link equity and angry crawlers may reveal a soft 404.
  •  Avoid redirect chains – Redirect chain occurs when URL A is rerouted to URL B, which in turn gets pointed to URL C and it goes on. Such redirect chains need to be avoided because usually Google follows 3 to 4 redirects and then it aborts getting stuck. It will even hamper your passed down page authority level.
  • Redirect to preferred website URL version – Use preferred website URL version correctly like HTTP or HTTPS, WWW or not WWW, slash or not, and lower-case or upper-case. 

You can also use the option to reset WordPress selectively to improve the overall improvement of your websites.