What is a Redirect?

Redirect Masks

A URL redirect is when you tell a URL to send users to a new destination. For example, a redirection can be used for all websites to connect the URL with www, to the one without www. If a site (such as this one) does not have a www at the beginning, then they will want to www.utahseoclass.com to utahseoclass.com so that no matter what the user types in, they will end up in the same place. One person may have many different masks and different identities, but really they are all the same person on the inside. A website redirect can send all of them to the same place. It is also similar to telling USPS when you move. You want the mail to get to you, so you tell them to redirect all mail from your old address to your new one.

Types of Redirects

There are many different types of redirects, but to redirect effectively you only need to know a few. The main redirect is a 301. This is a permanent redirect that tells the browser you have moved permanently. This will be used most of the time when you want to do a redirect. One of the main uses of this is when someone does a domain change. The 301 tells the search engine that the old version no longer exits and all data should be transferred to the new site. Another type of redirect is a 302. This is used as a temporary redirect. One of the best uses of this is when you are doing a website change, but don’t want to lose all of your data from your original site until it is ready. You may want to get feedback for a new website, but want to keep your site rankings until it is ready to launch. A 302 is easier to do, however a 301 will usually be what you want. There are simple ways to do html redirects and php redirects depending on what you need for your site. However, when changing the code to do a redirect, you have to be very careful. If you do not direct to the correct place, the search engine can get confused. For example, when people switch over from http to https, they can find themselves in an infinite redirect loop if they do not set it up correctly. You may have sent your http to redirect to https, but you have to be sure that all other pieces of your code don’t have an http redirect. Otherwise you may find it redirecting to itself.

More Reasons to Redirect

There are many other instances in which someone should do a redirect. One reason is when you have duplicate content. If there are two or more places where the same content exists, then they will fight each other. You should change the content or redirect one page to the other. If you are unsure if there is any duplicate content, then you can try using a duplicate content checker to verify. Another reason you may need to do a redirect is iff you get a new company name. In this case, you definitely want to redirect your old domain to your new one. Also, if through changing your name, URL, or for any other reason you ever end up with multiple domains, you want to make sure that they all direct to one place. From this you can also run into link changes. If people have links to any page on your site, you always want to make sure that you redirect that if the page is changed. This way when users find those links, they still end up where you want them to and not on an error page. Always be sure to pay attention to where search engine crawlers and users are being sent in order to verify that they are where you want them to be.

~Braxton Francis