This article will cover page redirection, how it works and what you should avoid.
What is page redirection? Why would you use it?
Let’s say that you need to rename a page of your website. You might have decided to change your entire naming system, or perhaps you restructured your website and needed to move pages into new folders. Or maybe you realized you were missing important keywords.
Let’s talk a little about keywords, as they are a key part of success in search engines.
Let’s say the page you refer to is about custom USB drives. You named it page1.htm. You then read SEO (Search Engine Optimization) articles that showed how some search engines use keywords in file names. When you next do a Google search, look at the results. Most will have words in your file name (in the URL section) bolded. This indicates a keyword match. Your USB drives page will benefit if named something like custom_usb_drives.htm instead.
You have just renamed your page. This messes with you, your users, and your search engine ranking.
Every link on your website will need to be redirected to the new page. It shouldn’t be too difficult if you have a small site. However, large sites will make mistakes. Visitors will get the dreaded “404 page not found” error when they click on your links. This is because robots (also known as crawlers and spiders) avoid you. If you rely heavily on search engine visitors, this will result in people getting a 404 error.
Let’s take the example above. Your page1.htm page was indexed for many years by major search engines. Your page will appear on the first search results screen if someone searches for custom USB drives. That is fantastic; only if someone clicks on the link will they be pointed to page1.htm, not to custom_usb_drives.htm, because the first page is in the search engines index. It may take several months before search engines update their indexes to reflect your new page name.
Issues of Lost Page Rank (PR).
Google has developed a proprietary algorithm to assign a Page Rank (PR) to each page on the internet. PR is a number between 1 and 10, with 10 being the ideal. It is meant to show how popular and useful a page is. Many factors influence PR, but Link Popularity is the most important. Link Popularity refers to the number of quality and relevant websites linking to your page. Getting a high page rank for your pages is becoming increasingly difficult and tedious. This is especially true if you don’t have a unique website with premium content. It takes time and effort to get good page PR if you’re merely running a commercial website in a highly competitive market, such as selling custom-branded USB drives.
You can also delete the PR of a page when you rename it. The page you rename will be viewed as a completely new page with zero PR.
What’s the solution?
Let me begin by listing some of the methods that the non-initiated use.
Solution 1: Duplicate content is not recommended
The first thing that will probably come to your mind is, “Why don’t you just copy the page and let nature do its own thing?” In other words, you will have two identical pages, one named page1.htm and one custom_usb_drives.htm. This allows you to update all links, and search engines will index the page eventually.
This is a bad solution because search engines will punish you severely if they believe you are trying to deceive them using the same content method.
Not recommended solution 2: Custom error message
A custom error page could be created. You will lose your rankings when search engine updates are made. The file will be interpreted as non-existent and will not appear in the results. It could take some time for the page with the new name to be indexed so that it appears in people’s searches. Visitors will feel frustrated that they must search your site for the necessary information.
An HTML Meta redirect is not recommended.
A Meta refresh is a page with a customized or blank title that points to the new page. It can be implemented on a blank page or a customized page. You can either have the redirect happen immediately, or it may be delayed for a set period. You can add a message to the delayed redirect, such as “Please be aware that the location of the page you are searching for has changed.” etc. You will automatically be redirected to the new location.
This was the most popular technique in the past.
The Meta redirect is a meta tag statement that you add to your HEADER section. However, there are Java Script techniques that can achieve similar results.
This is a bad technique that spammers use to trick search engines. It should be avoided unless the page is located in a section that isn’t indexed (also called spidered or crawled). A page created by search engine spammers is optimized for specific keywords and phrases but often has no content. Search engines then find this page. However, visitors click on the search engine entry to be redirected elsewhere, sometimes unrelated. Search engines use filters to detect this. This type of search engine deception can lead to a site being banned or penalized by Google and other major search engines.
The recommended redirect strategy is 301 Redirect.
A 301 redirect is the best, most user-friendly, spider, crawler-friendly, and search engine-friendly way to link to websites hosted on Apache servers. Check with your hosting provider if you’re not sure.
A 301 redirect is simply a list of commands you enter into your—htaccess file.
Your web server checks for a.htaccess files every time a visitor requests a page via any method. The. htaccess files contain specific instructions that address certain requests. These include security issues, redirection, and how to handle errors.
The code “301”, which is translated as “moved permanently,” can be interpreted to mean “moved permanently.” A space follows the URL of the page that is missing or renamed. Finally, the new file or location name is added.
First, locate the htaccess directory in which all your web pages are located. You can create a.htaccess file with Notepad or another similar program if there isn’t one. When naming the file, make sure you include the “.” The file name should begin with the “.” This file does not have a tail extension.
Many hosting companies offer redirect services via their control panels. This means that you don’t have to make any changes to the. htaccess file. They provide an easy-to-use interface. Check with your hosting provider to determine the best way to redirect your site to 301. The barebones solution will be the next article.
If a.htaccess file exists already with lines of code, you should be careful not to modify any of those lines unless you are familiar with the functions of that file.
Scroll down past the code and leave a space between the lines. Create a new line following this example:
redirect 301 /folder/page1.htm http://www.you.com/folder/custom_usb_drives.htm
It’s that simple. Could you save the file and upload it to your web? Next, type in the old address of the page that you have changed. The new location should appear immediately and seamlessly.
Notation: Do not add http://www to the first part. Just put the path from your top level to the page. You should also ensure there is no space between these elements.
Redirect 301 (the instruction to the page that it has been moved)
/folder/page1.htm is the original folder path and filename
http://www.you.com/folder/custom_usb_drives.htm (new path and file name)
This same format applies to files renamed and moved to another location.
Your rankings will be protected best by using a 301 redirect. The 301 redirect is the best way to protect your rankings. The old path and the file name will be removed and replaced by the new one in the next update, which could take several months. During the transition period, you may occasionally see alternate file names (old/new). There could also be fluctuations in rankings as things settle. This is normal.
What if your website is hosted on a Microsoft IIS Server instead?
If you can access the server, you can do the following:
- In the internet services manager right, click on the folder or file you wish to redirect.
- Select the radio labeled “a redirection for a URL.”
- Enter the redirection page and check the “Exact URL” and “A permanent redirection to this resource.”
- Click “Apply.”
Ask your host for help if you don’t have access to the server.
The 301 redirect is, in conclusion, the best and most transparent way to move and rename files on your website while maintaining your search engine rankings.