February 21, 2011
When performing SEO, as in any other process, there are best practices. One of those best practices is the correct usage of SEO redirects. A redirect is when a webpage is setup to redirect a visitor automatically to another page. There are several methods of setting up a redirect and which one you use depends on what you want to serve to the visitor and search engines.
Now you may be asking yourself: “Do I need to use redirects?” The answer is Yes! Every website should incorporate the use of redirects if they want their website to be SEO friendly. One example of that is to redirect your website so that your non-www version of your website automatically changes to your www version. In addition to that, websites will progress over time and URLs will change. With that being said, any time you make changes to your URLs; whether it’s to the domain, subdomain, subdirectories, filenames, or query strings you need to make sure the links pointing to the old URLs are still working and keeping their value. If you don’t use a redirect and your URLs change then all the old links will then break and you will have lost all of its previous value.
Now with all of this being said, there are essentially two different types of redirects and only one of the two is SEO friendly.
When should you use a 301 redirect? Anytime you change your domain name, page URLs, move content from one directory to another, or even retiring pages. You will want to employ this for several reasons. One is that you don’t want your visitors to hit a 404 error page. You will want your visitors to come to the new page or area you had intended them to come to. In addition, you will want the power from your previous pages to have transferred that power to your new pages. If you have it why lose it?
Now arguably the most important purpose of SEO redirects is to eliminate the occurrence of Duplicate Content. As you can see here Google specifically states the importance of avoiding duplicate content. A 301 redirect comes in very handy in eliminating this issue.
Should you need help with implementing a redirect please see here for instructions. I cannot understate how important redirects are from an SEO perspective. Do your best to incorporate these tactics in your website. Should you have any questions or comments please let us know.
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