A redirect is used to move an Internet address to a different URL. The technical implementation is usually quite straightforward. However, one ought to keep certain details in mind to maintain better rankings with Google & co. and to avoid losing users. This is because redirects are also relevant for search engine optimization.
Redirects are automatic URL transfers. The user types a specific website into his browser, but because of a redirect he is forwarded to another URL.
There are various reasons why users are redirected:
Further reasons for redirects are generally of a more technical nature. For instance the sub-domain WWW. The use of the WWW addition in front of the actual domain has become increasingly rare. However, many users type in the standard “www” in front of every address. Redirects of WWW addresses to URLs without this addition are helpful when trying to avoid duplicate content or difficulties in distinguishing between URL data. The same applies to the redirection of HTTP to HTTPS sites.
A fundamental technical differentiation is also important in terms of SEO. There are essentially two types of redirects.
Server-sided redirects, created for permanent use, send back a 300-status code response: “Moved permanently.” Google robots also register this message. However, users are not aware of this technical redirect, unless they take a closer look at the address line of their browser. Without a 301-redirect, the client receives the unpleasant 404-error message: “This page does not exist.” Obviously, this only happens if the page itself has already moved. Apart from that, the user sees the outdated content.
The benefit of HTTP redirection: This redirect has no influence on the ranking. The new page inherits the so-called link juice (the influence of existing backlinks) without any losses, from the old page.
On the other hand, the 302-status code is recommended for temporary redirects: “Moved temporarily.” In this case, the Google robot receives the message that existing data should not be deleted and should remain the same because the redirect is only temporary. The temporary forwarding also has no effect on a Google ranking, unless the redirect proves to be permanent in the course of time.
In the days of mobile Internet, every website operator is faced with a basic question of whether to offer a separate page for mobile devices or fully shift to responsive design. Google officially prefers the second option. A website created for responsive design does not need to be forwarded because it responds flexibly to mobile terminals. In addition, a uniform Internet presence for desktops, smartphones and tablets minimizes the risk of duplicate content, because it provides the Google robots with only one source of content analysis.
By relying on responsive design from the very start one also avoids the extra work needed to maintain two versions. A further disadvantage of mobile redirects is that the automatic recognition of the mobile terminal is not always straightforward.
The change of domain or newly addressing individual pages can be achieved without SEO losses if one follows these two steps:
Then you have to wait until Google has registered the new address. This can be easily determined by carrying out a site request on the largest search engine. When this is done, you can, if needed, transfer to client-sided redirects, but you do not necessarily have to. Website operators should allow one or two years before fully relinquishing an old domain, because many users access the page by way of stored bookmarks.
The rule of thumb is therefore: Forward in an SEO friendly way by using the server redirect. Every search engine recognizes the 301-redirect, and it will not lead to any downgrades in the PageRank. Despite the fact that Google has made distinct progress in the interpretation of client-sided redirects, this method continues to be the safest option.
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Dieser Artikel wurde am 07.August 2018 von Jan Knupper geschrieben.