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What is a Redirect and How it Works

Redirect is another term that is commonly used in SEO, and everyone who excels at SEO is supposed to understand the term and know how to use redirects to their benefit. 

A redirect is what happens when a user clicks on one page but is taken to another page with similar information on the same website. 

You can explain it using a simple illustration. 

Imagine that a man owns a shop in a big town, where he sells really good groceries. People troop to his store every day to get groceries, and he soon gains fame and popularity. 

But two years later, he decides that he is going to move his store to another location. He thinks about his customers, wondering how they are going to find him when he leaves, and then decides he is going to paste the address of his new store on the wall of the old store. What the man has done is redirect his customers to his new store. 

Redirects on the internet, work in a very similar way. Oftentimes, bloggers and web designers redirect users from one page that may not be so useful anymore to a much more useful page. 

A redirect happens automatically and takes users from one URL to another on a website on the internet. It doesn’t necessarily have to move them to the same website. Sometimes, it moves them to a different website—these kinds of redirects are called cross-domain redirects. 

The following are a few kinds of redirects: 

1. 301 Redirect

A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect. One makes use of them when a page has been taken elsewhere permanently or if it has been deleted. This redirection takes the user from the deleted page to the new page. 

Search engines include the new page in their index. So, it is great for search engine optimization. 

2. 302 Redirect

This redirection, unlike the 301 redirects, is temporary. It is used when something is going on with the site. It is the kind of redirect that happens when a storekeeper wants to repaint his shop but doesn’t want to stop sales. 

3. 308 Redirect

This one is similar to a 301 redirect, even though it is not as common. It tells the web browser to use that URL path and not go back to using the old path again. Its effect on SEO will be similar to the effect of 301 redirects. 

How can you use a redirect? Well, you can use redirects to improve SEO by:

  • Adding redirects to pages that are no longer functioning: try to add redirection to pages that are no longer functioning or pages that have lost their quality for some reason or the other. 
  • Adding redirects when you merge the content between several pages. 
  • Adding redirects from 404 pages; you can redirect 404 pages to other pages on your website that are built beautifully. 

All these work to improve your site’s usability, not get your visitors stuck, and to make your page optimized on the search engines—that is the goal, remember?

Photo by Weston MacKinnon on Unsplash

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