· Even a 1-second delay loading your site can cost up to 7% in conversions; 2 seconds increases bounce rates to 50%
· 84% of online users will leave a site and abandon a purchase if a website has an insecure (HTTP) connection
· Over 50% of webpages are connected HTTPS, according to Google
A custom designed website has all the tools for success. From unique branding elements, to creative and compelling content, to next-step portals that help online users move along in the buyer’s journey by making conversions and sales. What helps to make all this happen is SEO — or search engine optimization. It’s a process web developers use to make sure each webpage on your site loads fast, is secure, and can be read and crawled by search engines.
But whenever you make changes to your site, like changing the domain or doing a total revamp, developers employ website redirects to help users find your website again. Here’s more about how redirects can be instrumental in preserving your SEO, making a big impact on your marketing efforts.
Redirects are basically web code commands. They help direct users from an old URL to the new URL, whether it’s a permanent or temporary change.
There are a few reasons why you’d need to do this. For example:
When you plan to move your old site to a completely new one — with a shiny new domain name and everything. Those URLs are going to be different, which means your users won’t know where to go to find the new site.
All that time you spent optimizing the old site for search engines will have been a huge waste of time. But not with redirects!
So the “HTTP” part of a URL stands for Hypertext Transport Protocol, representing the user’s connection to the server that a website exists on. Sites that are HTTPS have the added benefit of being secure. This means:
· User activity can’t be tracked
· Personal information can’t be stolen
· Transferred files won’t be corrupted
HTTPS sites also prove to load much faster than HTTP sites, and Google automatically labels HTTP webpages as insecure. A staggering 84% of users will actually abandon a purchase (and the website) if it’s proven to be insecure. Not only is that a lost sale, but having an insecure website can and will negatively affect your SEO rankings if people think your site is potentially dangerous.
Applying redirects to a new HTTPS site will help keep users secure, and will benefit your SEO in the process.
When you need to move your whole website or just redirect a single URL, redirects will help you keep your current SEO intact by telling search engines what to crawl instead. It’ll take a while for Google to crawl an entire website all over again, so that’s why it’s important not to do an overhaul on your website too often.
But essentially, what you’re trying to avoid is creating duplicate content. Search engines (especially Google) penalizes sites with duplicate content because some people will duplicate intentionally. This packs their site with information in order to improve their SEO rankings.
Now that we’ve gone over why redirects are important to your users, and your SEO strategy, let’s break down the different types of redirects and when you should use them.
The most common type of redirect. We’ve sort of mostly been talking about these kinds of redirects the whole time, because they’re what is used most often to achieve permanent URL redirects. They will navigate users from an old page or domain to a new one, HTTP sites to HTTPS, new URLs, multiple domains to a single URL, and also “www” sites to non-www sites.
This should be a seamless transition, where the user doesn’t even realize they’re being redirected. 301 preserves page load speed and eliminates the potential for creating duplicate content.
These are temporary redirects, mostly used for single URLs rather than a whole site. Maybe you’re doing some website maintenance and don’t want people seeing the finished product just yet, or trying to test a page for performance.
Honestly, most SEO experts don’t recommend using 302 redirects on a consistent basis. It can’t pass on page rank, meaning whatever inbound links and optimization you have for SEO on that page won’t be transferred to the new one (however temporarily the new one is up).
Just like 302 redirects, 307 is also a temporary one. But unlike 302, a 307 redirect specifies that a URL has been moved temporarily to a different location. The problem is, the HTTP method doesn’t change to comply with SEO, which ultimately hurts your rankings. That’s why you don’t hear too much about 307 anymore.
For the record, we don’t recommend meta refresh redirects either. Not only are they pretty much obsolete, but they’re also more of a spammer’s choice. Meta refresh just gives a countdown for users that they will soon be redirected to another page. This is a slower process than 302 redirects, and nowadays, browsers don’t really allow webpages to be auto-refreshed like they used to (again, unless it’s a spam scheme).
Bottom line? Stick to 301 redirects. They’re your best bet for accomplishing what you need to do without hurting SEO.
Whether you need to completely revamp your website, or just one webpage, an experienced and reliable web developer can lead you through accomplishing website redirects without compromising your SEO, or your business. Here at Digital Resource, our web team is specialized in optimizing for SEO and performing expert website maintenance, web building, and site relocation. Contact us today and we’ll come up with the right plan for you!