1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Website Redirect Tips

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by Endire, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. Endire

    Endire Elite Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,756
    Likes Received:
    1,061
    Gender:
    Male
    I see a lot of questions from those new to SEO and IM about redirecting URLs so I thought I would share some common tips. Enjoy!

    Redirecting URL?s

    What are the basic kinds of redirects?

    Just in case you your knowledge is lacking on redirects, I thought I would mention all the different methods for achieving a redirect.

    301 redirect: Also known as a permanent redirect, the 301 is a code that signals to search engines and other bots that a page has permanently moved to the new location where visitors are being redirected to. The 301 is an http status code (just like 404 (page not found) or 500 (server error)). Redirecting using this method is thought to be the best for SEO because link authority is passed to the URL being redirected to.

    302 redirect: Also known as a temporary redirect. In http version 1.0, status code means ?temporarily moved? in http 1.1 status code means ?found?. In general, this redirect should not be used. It passes zero link authority to the URL being redirected to.

    Meta Refresh: These are redirects executed at the page level as opposed to ones executed at the server level. They are generally not recommended although they do pass on some link authority. They are a poor method in terms of usability because they are slower and can increase load times.

    Best Practices for using the 301 when moving a website:

    One of the most common uses for a redirect is when moving a website. To create the best user experience, redirect like URL?s to like URL?s. For example www.example.com/widgets.htm to www.example.com/new_site/widgets.htm. Remember that users expect to see content based on what they read in a meta description on a search engine results page. Redirecting all old URLs to the home page of a new site (while easier) does not promote a good user experience and may increase bounce rate.

    If you are redirecting URL?s via .htaccess and you have a lot of them, remember that directives in this file are executed in the order that they are written. This means you should not place shorter URLs before longer ones that have a similar file path. For instance placing www.example.com/aboutus before www.example.com/aboutus/contactus.htm will redirect both URLs to whatever domain was specified for /aboutus.

    Simple Snippets

    Here are some basic redirects that can be used in .htaccess. Remember that when using .htaccess, you have to tell the file to turn rewrite on.

    RewriteEngine On

    Boom, done.

    Changing the file extensions of your pages (for instance html to php). You can modify this to your needs such as if you want to redirect html pages to asp pages or php pages to .asp pages or whatever.

    RewriteBase /
    RewriteRule ^(.*)\.html$ $1.php [R=301, L]

    Force www in your URL?s

    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\.example\.com [NC]
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ [block]5[/block] [R=301,L]

    Redirect index.php to the root

    Options +FollowSymLinks DirectoryIndex index.php
    RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^[A-Z]{3,9}\ /index\.php\ HTTP/
    RewriteRule ^index\.php$ http://www.example.com/ [R=301,L]

    Map 404 errors to a custom page (remember to name your file accordingly or change the page it redirects to if your file is not named 404.html)

    ErrorDocument 404 errors/404.html


    Regular Expressions

    You can save a lot of time and headache by reading up a little on regular expressions before you start building your configuration file.

    Here are some great resources on regular expressions.

    Basic info can be found at http://vertstudios.com/blog/introduction-to-regular-expressions/

    More advanced info can be found at http://www.regular-expressions.info/

    Do you have any redirect tricks for SEO that have helped you?
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 10
  2. Jinko

    Jinko Regular Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2012
    Messages:
    242
    Likes Received:
    61
    Location:
    Scotland
    Thanks for sharing. I've never been 100% comfortable with redirecting and have found bits and pieces of information on various websites. It's good to have it all here condensed in one post. Quick question - if I redirect a website sitting at #1 in google for a local keyword to a new domain (due to rebranding), do you know what effect there will be on the SERPS? I'm hoping website two would replace website one at #1 but I can't imagine it being that simple...! Thanks, J.
     
  3. Endire

    Endire Elite Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,756
    Likes Received:
    1,061
    Gender:
    Male
    Jinko,

    I'm glad you found the post useful.

    In answer to your question, you should see the same traffic volumes to your new domain after the redirect as you did on the old domain. You will likely lose some PR in the process. For instance I was involved in a website rebranding and the original domain had a PR of 5. When the redirect took place, all traffic levels remained the same however the PR dropped to a 1 for the new domain. Not a huge deal but something to expect.

    It will also take some time for the new URL, meta description and link in SERP's to change to the new information. It helps to submit an address change in webmaster tools and resubmit both the old and new URL (i.e. "fetch as Google") in WMT (along with all linked pages).

    Cutts has a pretty good video on that exact scenario (i.e. moving a site or rebranding it with a new domain).

    http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=83105

    Hope that helps,

    Shawn
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  4. Jinko

    Jinko Regular Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2012
    Messages:
    242
    Likes Received:
    61
    Location:
    Scotland
    Thanks Shawn, appreciate you taking the time to reply and provide the helpful link.
     
  5. Endire

    Endire Elite Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,756
    Likes Received:
    1,061
    Gender:
    Male
    Any time! Glad to be of assistance!
     
  6. TurboGT27

    TurboGT27 Newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2013
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks for Sharing.
     
  7. angela walker

    angela walker Newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2013
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    1
    Hi,
    I am also thank full to you for sharing these links and info.
     
  8. G-T-R

    G-T-R Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2013
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    16
    Occupation:
    SEO
    Location:
    Asia
    That explains a lot.

    Thanks :)
     
  9. Seankearns

    Seankearns Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2012
    Messages:
    547
    Likes Received:
    365
    Location:
    Canada
    What do you think about the old trick of reciprocal linking from a secondary site and then 301'ing the index page to your money site? I'm planning on trying it, but anyone know why that wouldn't work?

    Why am I doing it? I can easily get a good number of niche related reciprocal links, but I'd rather turn them into one way links. (also the system checks to make sure they stay live.)
     
  10. Endire

    Endire Elite Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,756
    Likes Received:
    1,061
    Gender:
    Male
    Good question Seankearns,

    I suppose this could provide you with some benefit if done sparingly and correctly. For instance in Google's quality quidelines, they state that "excessive linking exchanging" is frowned upon. That's not to say if the links were quality (i.e. embedded in primary page content, relevant to content, and from authority sites) the tactic wouldn't provide your money site with some benefit.

    If I understand you correctly, you are essentially creating an authority "link network" outside your main site that will be redirected to your main site? So it would seem that if it didn't work you may be able to remove the 301 redirect.

    Here are a couple of good posts on reciprocal linking,

    http://www.highervisibility.com/blog/do-reciprocal-links-provide-seo-value/

    http://www.seobythesea.com/2009/01/...nks-and-what-do-search-engines-think-of-them/

    Google's thoughts (although I'm sure you've seen these guidelines before),

    http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=66356

    I would be interested to hear how it works out for you.

    Hope those help,

    Shawn
     
  11. tcbmaki

    tcbmaki Newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2013
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    What if you are marketing a website that has a terrible name and believe it's affecting conversion, would you consider a 301 redirect to something more catchy?
     
  12. SEO_Alchemy

    SEO_Alchemy Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2012
    Messages:
    1,134
    Likes Received:
    1,213
    Location:
    USA
    Quality Resource here folks. Cheers mate.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  13. Endire

    Endire Elite Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,756
    Likes Received:
    1,061
    Gender:
    Male
    Interesting question tcbmaki,

    What about the domain do you feel is affecting conversions?

    I would say that if the domain was getting decent traffic and you did in fact find evidence that it was the domain that was holding you back, then yes, redirecting would be a good alternative to starting over. Then after the new domain starts ranking on its own you could remove the redirect.

    Hope that helps,

    Shawn