Redirecting Your Site Visitors: How to Give Them a Safe, Happy Landing
What is a redirect and when do you need it?
The Internet today is much more competitive than it was several years ago, so Webmasters are constantly searching for effective site formulas that will ensure targeted traffic and high conversions. Webmasters change, update, rewrite, and optimize their sites’ content and structure day after day. As time passes, the task becomes more difficult as it involves more risks. For instance, what if a top ranking or high Google PageRank is lost? To avoid unwanted consequences, Webmasters use redirects.
You should use redirect to:
In the HTTP protocol used by the World Wide Web, a redirect is a response with a status code beginning with 3 that induces a browser to go to another location. The HTTP standard defines several status codes for redirection: 300 – multiple choices (e.g. offer different languages); 301 – moved permanently; 302 – found (e.g. temporary redirect); 303 – see other (e.g. for results of cgi-scripts); 307 – temporary redirect. We will speak about 301 and 302 redirects.
How do search engines react to server-side redirects?
A 302 redirect is a temporary one, so search engines interpret it as an instruction to index the old URL but the new content. It keeps the old URL because the server has said the new one is only “temporary.”
A 301 is a permanent redirect, so search engines interpret it as an instruction to replace the old URL with the new one. The new URL will rank in the same location as the old URL, because the links and anchor text that point to the old URL will now be transferred to the new URL.
Thus, you should choose the 301 redirect when you move your site or pages permanently. Besides, search engines recommend using it.
All the above steps are important because your lists will help you specify redirects properly and avoid having distressing losses. In addition, you can give up unimportant pages such as ones that are not being indexed and don’t have backlinks.
When the redirects are done, give search engines both a new site map AND the old one, so they can find the 301s faster.
How to do redirects
Here are some technical recommendations on how to create redirects:
SEO Companies’ Visibility Rate
Are SEO companies as good as they claim to be on their sites? Will they return the efficiency they promise? Are their skills qualified? The only way to find it out is to check how they optimize and promote their own sites.
Here we share Top 10 SEO Companies according to their search visibility rate for March 2009.
Web CEO analysts use objective evidence to rate SEO firms according to their search engine visibility. SEO companies’ visibility rate is calculated using a special formula that considers the positions of SEO companies’ sites in search engines results pages for the keywords their potential clients use, popularity of these keywords and number of competitors. Learn more about the formula.
Experts explain why redirects are highly recommended:
Whenever people are tempted not to do the right thing, the Golden Rule is a reminder to “treat others the same way that you want them to treat you”.
The Internet era rewrote that rule, and now a similar maxim regulates relationships between webmasters, search engines and visitors to sites. So when a webmaster is thinking about using a questionable technique, the new rule recommends walking in the site visitor’s shoes. “Do it for your site visitors, and not for search engines.” Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Creating regional versions of a site is one of those questionable techniques.
Country-specific Sites and Duplicate Content Filters: Scout, Scout, You Are Out!
Search engines consider duplicate content a sort of weed that must be eradicated in order to show users only the most relevant pages. So if Google’s index includes multiple URLs that lead to the same content, Google uses the “Duplicate Content Filter” to refine search results and ensure that only unique pages are returned to its users.
Ideally, a multi-national company should maintain separate sites for each country – this way search engines can easily determine which site to show searchers from different countries.
But what if you have only one domain and several versions of your site in the same language (say, English) and want to target several English-speaking countries (Australia, Canada, India, the UK, the USA) with the proper country-specific version of the site? This means your site has duplicate content and Google will filter the duplicates and leave the “original” on, at its discretion (for instance, all Google users will be served only the USA version that is no good for them).
So, if you don’t have regional domains for every country you operate in, and you host all the content on the same domain, do the following:
Web CEO Metrics
Here we are sharing the generalized numbers from our HitLens Web Analytics service. It covers 300,000+ websites from all over the world.
Global Search Engines (%)
This chart gives the idea of the market share of each of the three major search engines.
You can see how visitors are being referred to websites. Although social media are playing an important role as referrers, search engines still remain at the top. SEO efforts are worth applying.
Hear what experts say