Redirects: 301, 302 and Meta Refresh

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Redirects: 301, 302 and Meta Refresh

What is a redirect?

Redirects allow you to send users and search engines from the site that they initially requested to a new site. You might do this if you are doing server maintenance on a particular page or if you are in the process of site migration. Different redirects, however, will have different impacts on how search engines respond to them. The three main types of redirects are 301, 302, and meta refresh.

Are 301 redirects bad?

A 301 redirect means that the page the user requested has been permanently moved to another location. This is generally regarded as the best method for SEO purposes. The page that the 301 sends the visitor to will receive most of the link power that the original page had, which helps you to maintain your rankings on SERPs.

What is a 302 redirect?

A 302 redirect is a temporary redirect. If you are doing maintenance on your server and you need to temporarily have customers visit another page, then you will use a 302. Like a 301, these redirects pass along with link power, but Google views this redirect as temporary, and will index the original and the destination site with that in mind. If you intend to have this redirect be permanent, it is in your best interest to make sure that it is done as a 301 redirect.

What is a meta refresh redirect?

A meta refresh redirect will automatically send users from the original URL to the new URL after a certain number of seconds. This is the redirect that the website has used if you see the message, “If you are not redirected in X seconds, click here”. While these refreshes might pass along some of the link power of the original site, they are generally regarded as poor for the user experience and not the preferred means of redirecting traffic.

Why do I need to redirect websites during server maintenance?

Redirecting people to a new website during server maintenance is an important way to ensure their website experience isn’t interrupted. With server maintenance, websites can experience changes that are disruptive to their normal functionality. To prevent users from having a bad experience or potential loss of data, redirecting people to another website provides a reliable solution to protect user experience.

Regardless of whether you need to permanently redirect people to a new domain or just need to do some server maintenance, doing redirects correctly can be very beneficial to your SEO and user experience.

Related: Website Migration
Related: Website Migration and SEO