There are a lot of reasons to not use an HTML redirect, but the main reason is that it hurts SEO in a major way.
HTML redirects are bad for SEO. Search engines can't read them, so they won't know where the redirect is pointing to.
This means that search engines will see the original location of your redirect as a dead end, and it will negatively affect your ranking.
If you want to redirect from one page to another, use a 301 redirect instead. It tells search engines that the page has moved permanently, which will preserve your ranking and direct users to the correct place!
What is an HTML Redirect?
HTML redirects are used by website owners to automatically send users from one URL (webpage address) to another. They're most often used when a site is in transition and being displayed at multiple URLs during the process.
When you create an HTML redirect, you're telling the web browser via a HTML tag where to navigate to, and sends you there without any additional interaction.
Why HTML Redirects are a Missed Opportunity
HTML redirects require the user's browser to:
- Request the webpage that's been redirected
- Receive the HTML code that indicates the page has been redirected
- Request the new URL
- Receive the new webpage from the server
- Display the new webpage for the user to see
An HTML redirect takes longer and is less user-friendly than using a server-side redirect. It requires the browser to fetch the redirect page from your server, which increases load time and uses more bandwidth. This can be frustrating for users, particularly if they're on a mobile device or have a slow connection.
An HTML redirect also won't pass along any referral information (i.e. where traffic is coming from) to your new page, so you won't be able to track how many people are coming from different sources.
HTML redirects also don't help with search engine optimization (SEO). They don't pass along link equity, which means you won't get any of the benefits of having backlinks to your site. Search engines like Google will also see multiple URLs leading to the same content as being duplicate content, which could negatively impact your search ranking.
Why 301 and 302 Redirects are Better
The short answer is 301 and 302 redirects are better than HTML redirects because they're simpler, faster, and maintain your website's SEO.
The 301 redirect tells search engines that the move is permanent, while the 302 redirect tells them that it's temporary.
The 301 is the best redirect to use if you have permanently moved content from one URL to another. A 301 will transfer 90-99% of link equity from an old page to a new page, so it's great for dealing with expired content (such as old blog posts).
A 302 redirect is ideal for temporarily moving content—for example, if you're doing maintenance on your site. It will not transfer any link equity from an old page to a new page, but it will prevent the loss of ranking power or traffic during your maintenance period.
Unlike HTML redirects, 301 and 302 redirects get to keep their page rank—the value attributed to a page by search engines like Google. If a page gets a lot of traffic and is considered a high-quality resource, it will have a high page rank.
When you use other methods, that page rank is lost, so when you send people from an old page to a new one, it hurts your SEO because the new page has no credits to its name. The 301 or 302 redirect, however, essentially transfers that credit over with the user as they go from one URL to another.
This means that you don't lose any momentum in your online presence when you use these redirects—and that's why they're the best!
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