Redirects are an essential part of the continual growth of any website. To prevent them from becoming costly mistakes that rob websites of the best SEO, redirects must be used correctly. Since there are many kinds of redirects, maintaining the best search engine optimization requires an understanding of how they work and which type is most effective under various circumstances. It is a challenge for the best SEO company to make the right decisions and keep websites from losing both optimization and page rank.

The Purpose of Redirects

Website growth is a wonderful thing, it indicates a company or organization is doing positive things; however, creating or updating a website to reflect a growing and continually changing company can negatively affect SEO. When an old website is not properly redirected to the new website, it can cost SEO ranking and ultimately lost business. Fortunately, with proper redirects, an old website can bring users to the new version of a web page, completely bypassing the old version or reaching a “404 Not Found” error.

Three Types of Redirects

To apply redirects without affecting the best search engine optimization, a website designer must understand the three types of redirects, what they do, and how they should be used.

  • 301 Redirect – The “301 Moved Permanently” redirect means a page has permanently moved and all traffic to the old page is sent to the new destination for that older URL. Based on Google’s algorithms and how it treats redirects traffic, the 301 is best and is the only one recommended to maintain the best SEO. It sends users to the new page and transfers all ‘link juice’ and other ranking benefits along with it. Google sees the new page the same as the original page, without any breakdown of optimization.

  • 302 or 307 Redirect – These redirects are types of temporary redirects, which sound good on paper but fail miserably in terms of SEO efficiency. “302 Found/Moved Temporarily” or “307 Moved Temporarily” redirects are sometimes used if there is a plan to remove the redirects later. However, with the 301 redirect, there is no need for this to be done. In addition, 302 and 307 redirects do not transfer link information, while can result in lost optimization and lost ranking as a result. These types of redirects are not recommended for the best search engine optimization.

  • Meta Refresh Redirect – This type of redirect sends users from an old page to a new one after a few seconds, through an automatic refresh. These pages may also contain instructions to click a link if not forwarded to the redirect page. They maintain some of the link benefits and are partially recognized by Google’s indexers, although there is still some loss of optimization. Meta refresh is applied at the page level, rather than on the server level, to redirect an entire website. Whenever possible, they also should be avoided in order to maintain the best SEO.

Creating a Redirect Plan

Website updates often include design improvements as well as reorganization and site content prioritization. In these situations, direct redirects might not be appropriate if page content is different. This commonly occurs with a larger website, so creating a redirect plan that outlines URL mapping based on page content, inbound links, and page ranking is essential. It is sometimes necessary to use Meta refresh redirects, which can be more simple. Reorganization of content must be done simultaneously with an appropriate redirect plan, for best results.

If planning for and executing redirects sounds complex, that is pretty much true. Knowing the best way to prioritize redirects and which one to use is essential to prevent any loss of SEO. Maintaining the best SEO during a website update requires careful planning and the help of the best SEO company, one that has extensive experience in creating good, effective redirect plans!

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