What Are Redirects?

Redirects help protect your website during an upgrade, redesign, or move. While they are really easy to implement, many website owners and developers forget about them and in the process, this derails SEO efforts and can completely wipe away ranking in search.

There are three types of redirects that are most commonly used:

  • 301 “moved permanently”
  • 302 “Moved Temporarily”
  • Meta Refresh

A redirect is simply a way to send users and the search engines to a different URL than the one they originally were trying to access.

For example, lets say you were trying to go to domain.com/page-1, but I’d moved it on the site. I could use a redirect to automatically take you from domain.com/page-1 to the correct page like domain.com/page-2. Listed below are the various methods of redirection.

What are the Redirect Methods?

301 Moved Permanently Redirect

When it comes to Search Engine Optimization, a 301 redirect is preferrable. It passes between 90-99% of the “link juice” to the new page.

302 Moved Temporarily Redirect

The 302 redirect does not pass any link juice to the new page whatsoever. You’d really want to only use a 302 redirect for very short term moves, such as maintenance or to promote a “happy hour” sale.

Meta Refresh

While both the above methods are server level redirects, the meta refresh is a page level redirect. It’s generally slower and not recommended to use for SEO. You’ll see meta refreshes most of the time with pages that alert you with “If you are not redirected in XX seconds, click here”.

How to do Redirects?

301 and 302 Redirects can only be done in “.htaccess” or using PHP.

Meta Refresh Redirects can be done by placing code in the web page.

Place inside <head> to refresh page after 5 seconds:

<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="5">

Redirect to http://example.com/ after 5 seconds:

<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="5; url=http://example.com/">

Redirect to http://example.com/ immediately:

<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0; url=http://example.com/">

While all was true during the writing of this article, changes will happen as Search Engines (espicially Google) updates its algorithms, 
Mr MOZ is a good place to keep abreast of these updates.