The only thing that changes as much as European weather - or possibly your partner’s mood - is your website. But how do you make sure you retain your precious ranking in search engines? The answer is easy: redirect your URL. Easier said than done? Not anymore!
Besides being a pain for your human visitors, 404 pages are just as much of a headache for search engine bots. After all, search engines only benefit if they are able to provide you with the best content to match your search query. That, after all, is their one and only job. Broken links damage their trustworthiness. So, it’s no surprise that this is penalized by decreasing your page ranking in search results.
Redirect your website for all of the gain and none of the pain
Redirecting your URLs can be a nuisance. Trust me, we’ve been there. That’s why, when existing tools left us wanting, we decided to create one of our own. From that moment, it was a piece of cake (or, should I say, a slice of pizza…) to redirect a URL. And because both cake and pizza are best when shared with friends and family, we decided to share our URL redirect tool with the web developing community across the world.
Back to basics: What’s a redirect?
We understand not everybody is a tech genius. So, let’s break this down for the non-nerdy readers out there. When you move a page on your site to a different location, or when you move your entire site to a different domain, the old link (also known as URL – or Uniform Resource Locator) will lead to a place that no longer has any content. This is when you get the dreaded ‘404 page not found’ error. The infamous 404 pop-up leaves the visitor empty handed and search engines looking like fools.
This is where a redirect comes in. It’s a line of code that tells your browser and search engines where to find the missing page or content. Problem solved!
Different types of redirects
There are several ways a redirect can be classified. Basically, you only need to remember to use 301 redirects for permanently moved pages and 302 for redirects for temporarily moved pages. But here’s some more background to satisfy your obvious thirst for knowledge:
301 Redirects (moved permanently)
The most accurate, common and realistic method of redirecting a web page is to use a permanent redirect, also known as a 301 redirect. When a website is permanently relocated to a new address that needs to be indexed by search engines, this type of redirect code is used to redirect the URL from the old one to the new one.
A 301 redirect is particularly useful in the following situations:
- To ensure a smooth transfer of traffic from your old site to your new site
- To redirect visitors arriving at your site via various URLs, you can select a preferred URL and then use 301 to redirect all traffic to that URL
- When merging two websites, to make sure the links to old URLs are redirected to the right pages
When a web page forwards a URL to another URL, it takes time for the search engines to process the 301 redirects, grasp the idea, and reward the new page with all of the previous page's rankings (including trust). This process takes longer if search engine bots don’t visit the given site very often, or if they don’t redirect the new URL properly.
302 Redirects (moved temporarily)
A 302 redirect is used when a URL is temporarily redirected to another site. The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), also known as HTTP, is the protocol that governs how a URL functions on the internet. This comes in two main versions: 1.0 and 1.1. The status code 302 in the first version meant ‘temporarily transferred’. In version 1.1, this was modified to indicate ‘found’.
This redirect is particularly useful in the following situations:
- When you need to temporarily redirect traffic to another website while your page is being worked on
- When you need to redirect users to a different page while keeping your original URL indexed
- When your content is at one URL, but you're promoting links to a different URL
Discontinued and ‘legacy’ redirects
The 301 and 302 redirects are probably the only types of redirect you’ll ever need. But just in case you run into some legacy software or plugins that ask you about them, here’s a little insight into so-called ‘legacy’ redirects:
- 303 redirects
These can be used to show that the redirects are linked to a different domain instead of the newly uploaded sites. They're rarely discussed in relation to SEO because, unlike a confirmation page or an upload progress page, this sort of redirect has no impact on SEO. 303 redirects can be used to avoid the details of a form being resubmitted when a user uses their browser's back button. A 303 redirect is almost never used.
- 307 (moved temporarily)
The 307 redirect is a server-side variant of the 302 redirect in HTTP 1.1. When the server responds with a redirect, 307 redirects are used to ensure that the HTTP form deployed to generate the request doesn’t change. Like a 302 redirect, a 307 redirect can only be used when traffic is relocated to a different URL. Because it's unclear how search engines will respond to a 307 redirect, it’s better to use the 302 variant.
- 308 Redirects (moved permanently)
The 308 redirect is the permanent version of the 307 redirect. The 308 redirect transfers page authority, as you would expect from a permanent redirect. Like the 307 redirect, the 308 redirect keeps the original HTTP process. Since it's uncertain how search engines might respond to the 308 redirect, it’s safer to use the 301 redirect if you want to indicate the permanent transfer of data.
Redirecting a secure URL/HTTPS URL
The internet is becoming more secure, making it more difficult to redirect old domains. But don't worry, we've got this covered! Total HTTPS support for redirects has made creating redirects a breeze with this free domain redirect service.
One of redirect.pizza’s best features - even if we say so ourselves - is redirecting a secure URL that has a SSL certificate assigned to it. As long as the old URL has the certificate, everything will work just fine with most redirection tools. But once the SSL certificate expires on your old domain, your redirects will start throwing SSL errors. This is because no valid SSL certificate was found at your old domain. But - as promised - we’ve got this covered: we'll get your old domain an SSL certificate, so it can continue to use HTTPS.
Oh, and did we mention redirect.pizza has a free tier that’s suitable for most users?
Come on, how many people do you know who’d turn down a free pizza? 😉