When you just get started online, everything is simpler. You only have a few pages of content. Your URL is straightforward, and you’re building some initial momentum.
But, over time, your site grows more complex. In addition to considering a web hosting package upgrade (to support increases in users and traffic) you have more pages, posts, and URLs to deal with. You create pages and posts that no longer exist, or you decided to simplify the URL structure of your content.
Maybe you even purchased a few domains you want to redirect to your site, or you want to switch domains altogether.
As you can see, there are a lot of reasons you’ll need to redirect a website to another.
Below you’ll learn what a website redirect is along with the most common scenarios then you’ll want to implement a website redirect.
A website redirect will take one website URL and point it to another. When anyone types in or clicks on that original URL they’ll be taken to the new page or website.
Even if you don’t need to implement a redirect now, it’s probably something you’ll need to do eventually. Knowing how to implement a redirect will a valuable skill moving forward.
You can implement redirects on a URL or page-by-page basis.
There are a few different types of redirects you’ll want to be aware of. As you’ll see below, the 301 redirect is the most common and useful, but there are some other redirects available as well.
A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect. This is the most commonly used and powerful redirect as it passes on nearly all of the link juice of the existing domain. This type of redirect takes place on both a browser and server level. In time, the search engines will index this redirect.
A 302 redirect is used when you want to temporarily redirect a URL, but you have the intention of moving back to the old URL. For example, you’re redesigning your site, but want to direct users to a different domain while you finish building your site.
302 redirects aren’t used very often. If you’re considering using a 302 redirect, think carefully: you might be better off just utilizing a 301 redirect.
A meta refresh isn’t used very often. But, you’ve still probably seen this type of redirect before on page loading screens.
Have you ever landed on a page and been greeted with a message that says, “The original URL has moved, you’re now being redirected. Click here if you’re not redirected in 5 seconds”? Then you’ve experienced a meta refresh.
This type of redirect does pass on a little link juice, but not as much as a 301 redirect.
Now that you’re familiar with the types of redirects you can implement, it’s time to go into the reasons you’ll want to redirect a URL in the first place.
Here are some common scenarios where you’d want to redirect one website to another.
Maybe when you created your site you decided to create your blog page on a subdomain of your site. So, instead of your blog URL being “mysite.com/blog”, it’s been “blog.mysite.com.”. Only now you’ve decided that it makes sense to switch your blog off of the original subdomain structure.
In this case, you’ll want to implement a redirect.
The same goes for any other reason you’ve created a site or section of your site on the subdomain, and now you want to switch up the URL structure.
Having duplicate content across your site can really mess with your rankings. If you have a large site, then the chances are high you have some pages with duplicate content. When you have more than one version of the same page it makes it hard for Google to figure out which page to rank.
You can avoid common duplicate content issues by redirecting the duplicate piece of content to the original. This will not only reduce confusion with your visitors, but it should improve your search engine rankings as well.
It’s common practice to buy up multiple domain names related to your main URL in order to protect your online brand.
But, instead of just buying these domains and letting them sit there you can redirect them to your main website. Whether they’re common misspellings of your existing domain name, other domain name extensions, or something else entirely, they’re worth redirecting back to your main site.
Did you originally build out your site on a domain that wasn’t your first choice, only to buy your dream domain later on?
It happens more than you think. Maybe you went through a massive rebrand and changing your domain name was necessary.
Whatever the reason, you need to implement a redirect of your old domain to your new domain. Now, migrating an entire site is more intensive than a simple redirect, but it’s a good starting place.
Sometimes you’ll have to change the URL of existing pages and posts. Maybe you’re cleaning up your existing URL structure, or you moved some pages around and the old URL no longer makes sense.
If this sounds like you, then you’ll want to implement a 301 redirect from the old URL to the new one. This is especially true if your older posts are already indexed in the search engines, or you have links out anywhere online.
As you can see, there are many reasons you’ll want to redirect a website, and a few different website redirects you can use. Hopefully, you have a better understanding of their value and why it’s something you’ll need to learn, eventually.