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Redirects are special mechanisms that allow the user to be automatically transferred from a website to another target or temporary address, and they also play an important role in indexing the site by Googlebots. Website optimization is the process of implementing SEO strategies, it is worth paying special attention to them, because the number of redirects, and how they will be created, can affect both positively and negatively on the visibility of the website in search results. What then should you pay attention to? Which mechanisms to use in a given case?
Website optimization – what redirects and why do you need on the website?
Before we look at the secrets of creating redirects on a website, let’s start with the basics. We can choose from several main types of redirects that are used in optimization, including:
From the SEO point of view, they are very important, which is why they are so popular. This constant redirection of a page from one URL to another (in a different location or on a different server), eliminating orphan pages, is an important signal for indexing bots to focus on the new address from now on. Importantly, 301 redirects preserve the positioning power of the original page to a great extent.
In this case, we are dealing with a temporary redirect, the search engine still displays two URLs – both the old and the new one. It is worth using this option if, for example, we want to test new solutions, we need a promotional version of the website, the website is under reconstruction or we want to limit some of the offer (e.g. in an online store), but remember that 302 redirects do not allow for the transfer of ranking power.
Temporary redirects with the message “See Other” or “See Other” used in forms with the HTTP POST method. They should be taken into account if the redirection is to appear in response to the form sent.
Similar to 302 redirects, they direct to a temporary URL, available in two variants: external (to a different domain) and internal (within the site). They are a good choice if you want a short-term change of location, e.g. when making quick corrections to the website.
How to create redirects on different systems?
We already know the most important solutions, so we will look at how to create redirects in three popular systems – WordPress, Joomla and Prestashop.
Optimizing a website on WordPress gives you a lot of possibilities. If we do not want to interfere with the website code, we have little experience – the safe solution will be to use the Redirect plugin (just install it, does not require configuration, allows you to set 301 redirects from the administration panel), which, however, has limited functionality. Another option? For example, direct changes to the .htaccess file, which contains the site address configuration, however, they require the addition of specific commands, so without specialist knowledge, it is better not to risk it. It is also worth checking if the hosting provider does not offer the option of adding redirects from the admin panel.
In the case of Joomla, it is worth paying attention to a special solution, i.e. a dedicated back-end component – Redirects (Components> Redirects). It needs to be activated (“Use mod_rewrite” option in the global site configuration), and then go to simple settings (add the old source URL and then the new target URL, possibly an administrative note). The component allows you to monitor all redirections, visible collectively in the table, allows you to search, filter and sort results, view and change the permissions of individual users, etc.
This popular software for running online stores allows you to create redirects by installing specific paid modules tailored to your individual needs. You can choose, among others the module “Redirect 301, 302, 303 URLs and 404 – SEO”, which allows you to create an unlimited number of redirects or the highly rated module “SEO Pro All-In-One. URL cleaner, redirects, sitemaps… ”with extensive number of functions.
Errors while creating redirects
When creating redirects on your website, you should test their effectiveness and limit the number of 404 errors – what is it? The 404 error occurs when the user has connected to the server, but the server cannot find the file or it is not properly configured. We will deal with it if, for example, we have deleted a given page and it has not been properly redirected to a new, working URL. To make sure what it looks like for a specific website, it is worth, for example, using the Google Search Console tool, which allows you to conduct an appropriate analysis. Why do we consider 404 errors undesirable? If only because it affects a very important bounce rate – users who will regularly encounter an error message will leave the site,
Redirects and SEO
Appropriate website structure, errors on the page, correct URL addresses – such issues significantly affect the effectiveness of positioning, therefore the skillful creation of redirects on the website should be one of the important elements of the positioning strategy. However, you should remember about moderation – the lack of redirects is a serious problem, but their excess can also weaken the website. Correctness and optimization of implementation are important in developing User Experience. The smoother, more convenient and easier a given user browses a website, the more time he or she will spend on it and the more likely to return to it. Redirects affect not only website traffic, but conversion as well. Consider online stores – each time a potential customer encounters a 404 error, the chances of it being that he will decide to continue browsing the assortment and the final transaction. It is worth regularly monitoring the operation of the website and checking if all redirects are functioning flawlessly, then we increase our chances of quickly detecting any errors and fixing them before it has a negative impact on the operation and effectiveness of the website.
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