A redirect is an automatic forwarding of a user from one URL on your website to another. Redirects are important to set up every time you take down a page on your website and every time you change an existing URL.


What are redirects?

En redirect (also called a redirection) is an automatic forwarding of a user from a web address to another. For example, if a user tries to access address A, you can redirect the user to address B. In this way, you can avoid a user landing on a non-existent page, and at the same time a redirect transfers the SEO value of the old page to the new page.

Redirects are important to set up every time you take down a page on your website or change an existing web address. Redirects are also important to avoid duplicate content (identical content on different URLs), which can occur if your website can be accessed with both HTTPS and HTTP, with and without www, with or without a final slash and in both lower and upper case.

301 redirects and 307 redirects

There are several types of redirects (301, 302, 303, 304, 305, 306 and 307), only two of which are important to know:

  • 301-redirect - permanent redirect. Indicates that the page has been moved permanently.
  • 307-redirect- temporary redirect. Indicates that the page has been temporarily moved. Previously a 302 redirect was used instead.

Google has announced that it no longer matters SEO-wise whether you use a 301 or 307 redirect (or a 302 redirect). But of course you should use the one that makes the most sense for the given situation. Both because other search engines may have different practices to Google, and because Google may change its own practices at a later date.

Setting up redirects

There are redirect plugins at most CMS systems, so you can easily set up a redirect yourself when a page is taken down or changes web address. For WordPress, for example Redirectionwhich can automatically set up redirects when a URL changes, and Easy HTTPS Redirectionwhich can redirect users to the HTTPS version of your website.

Alternatively, for most websites, redirects can be set up in a so-called .htaccess file on the web server. This is a more technical solution with a higher risk of error, but a more appropriate solution for setting up the redirects that will apply to the whole website and which only need to be set up once (HTTP to HTTPS, with/without www, with/without slash and forced lower case). You can read more about setting up redirects at support.google.com.

Redirect chains

En redirect chain (also called a redirection chain) is a series of redirects between the original and the final web address. Some chains occur over time (page 1 redirects to page 2, which later redirects to page 3), and others occur because a link or redirect does not have the correct syntax (for example, is incorrectly written using HTTP), thus requiring one or more redirects.

Unnecessary redirects make it more difficult for Google to crawl your website and can reduce site load time. You can use an analytics tool like Screaming Frog to see all redirection chains (redirect chains) on your website. Chains with 4 or more redirects should be fixed by removing all redirects between the first and last redirect.

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Mark Molgaard

Partner & Senior SEO Specialist

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