Website owners have to deal with redirects, leading many to ask, “Are redirects bad for SEO?” Redirects allow you to keep the user experience easier when combining various websites, moving a page to another location, rebranding, or when you delete a webpage.
Different redirects exist, making it challenging to determine if a redirect can harm your SEO (search engine optimization). This guide explores multiple types of redirects and why to work with Tampa’s SEO company Pure Digital Marketing.
What Are Redirects, and Why Should You Use Them?
Redirects forward website users, alongside bots, to a different URL than the one they attempted to visit. Website owners use redirects for two primary reasons:
- Redirects inform search engines when you’ve moved certain content. Redirects also tell search engines whether or not this move is permanent or temporary.
- You can improve visitors’ user experience by preventing a “page not found” message from popping up. Trying to buy a product or service only to discover this error can prompt users to leave. Instead, a redirect to alternative internal links can solve this problem.
The Main Types of Redirects
The answer to the question, “Are redirects bad for SEO?” is no, but it depends on how you use redirects.
Temporary and permanent redirects exist, with Google prioritizing permanent redirects to appear in search results while temporary redirects prioritize the original link to show. Several types of redirects exist:
By using a 3XX HTTP status code, a server-side redirect alters where a search engine or user travels to. For SEO purposes, most website owners use these as client-side redirects. However, you should only use these redirects for rare cases. Some 3XX redirect types are:
- 301 redirects: A 301 redirect prompts users to a different URL while telling search engines that the link has moved permanently.
- 302 redirects: Unlike a 301 redirect, you use a 302 redirect when temporarily moving a webpage’s URL. However, if you leave a 302 redirect for a long time, Google begins treating it as a 301 redirect and indexes it.
- 303 redirects: This temporary redirect is useful for stopping visitors from dealing with form resubmissions when hitting back on their computers.
There are also 307 redirects that work similarly to 302 redirects while keeping the original request’s HTTP method. Google also treats 308 redirects the same as 301 redirects, but for SEO purposes, it’s better to use 301 redirects.
Google operates quickly, preventing this problem, but 3XX redirects are typically the better solution.
Meta Refresh Redirects
This redirect tells a browser to redirect a visitor after a certain period, generally a few seconds. Google treats this redirect type like a 301 redirect. Since not every browser supports this redirect type, Google advises against using meta refresh redirects.
This redirect sends a user to a new page that provides a brief explanation. This process helps users locate your website more easily while telling Google that it’s a crypto redirect.
When Should You Use a Redirect?
When moving content from one URL to another or deleting content, you should use a redirect. Some more specific situations to use a redirect are:
- Merging websites: If you want to merge multiple websites into one, a redirect can prompt users to leave an old URL and go to the new one.
- Moving domains: When a company rebrands, they typically decide to use a new domain. Permanently redirect URLs from your old domain to your fresh website.
- Deleting pages: Sometimes, you want to do some housekeeping on your website by deleting certain pages. When possible, permanently redirect a URL to a new page.
- If you’re running a campaign or promotion: A temporary campaign or promotion can warrant using a temporary redirect.
- Switching to HTTPS: Experts recommend you switch from HTTP to HTTPS, as HTTPS provides greater website security. Completing this process requires redirecting every HTTP page to its new HTTPS location.
Let Our Pure Digital Marketing Team Help You Today
When asking, “Are redirects bad for SEO?” the simple answer is that, when utilized properly, redirects can actually improve your SEO. Implementing the proper redirect strategy requires working with a team of digital marketing gurus.
Tampa, FL, residents can learn more about the services the Pure Digital Marketing team provides and how to avoid common errors in SEO.