Properly redirecting your web pages is vital when you redesign your website or consolidate URLs to help improve usability and search engine optimization to improve search ranking. You need to let Google know what’s going on and it is best to use their preferred format. Of course, it is also very important to redirect your customers and potential customers to the correct page as well.
There are two types of redirects, 301 and 302. Unfortunately, some webmasters don’t fully understand the difference. Not knowing can have a huge impact. A 301 redirect indicates a permanent move to a new location. Whereas a 302 redirect means the move is temporary. Using the proper redirect will tell the search engines whether or not to keep the old page, or to replace it with the one found at the new location. Using the wrong type of redirect can confuse the search engines which is never a good thing.
It is particularly important to use the proper redirect to protect the age of your website. Google favors seasoned URLs over new ones. So for example, if you move a website to a new location don’t expect Google and the other search engines to simply follow the redirects. A site move can trigger a delay in Google aging for your site and may cause your site to drop out of search rankings for months or even a year. If you use a 302 vs 301 redirect, the search engines might continue to index the old URL and think the new one is duplicate copy.
One reason for the confusion is that it seems to be easier to create 302 (temp) redirects than 301 redirects, which take more time and trouble. If you are permanently moving a website, which is most of the time, it is best to use a 301 redirect and avoid any potential confusion with the websites and your users. This is yet another reason to include your SEO in any conversation about website redesigns early on. Stay current with the latest trends and changes for SEO to get the most out of your digital marketing efforts.
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