Which redirect should I use?

Which redirect should I use? • Yoast

Edwin Toonen

Edwin is a strategic content specialist. Before joining Yoast, he spent years honing his skill at The Netherlands’ leading web design magazine.

As an SEO or website owner, sooner or later you are bound to run into redirects. Whenever you delete a page, change your URL structure or switch to a new domain, you’ll have to redirect your URLs. Changing URLs is really important for your SEO, but can be quite daunting. That’s why Yoast SEO Premium offers the redirect manager. That’ll make redirecting URLs a lot easier!

A redirect tells search engine robots to go somewhere else, either temporarily or permanently, to access a particular page. Choosing the wrong type of redirect might adversely impact your SEO, so be careful which you pick. This post explains the different types of redirects and when you should use them.

Why use redirects?

In general, you should try to avoid redirects but if you do need them, please apply them properly. Redirecting URLs is part of your regular website maintenance. There are many reasons for using them, but these are the most common:

HTTP status codes

To understand how redirects work and how you can influence what a server returns to a browser, you need to know about HTTP status codes. An HTTP status code is a set number that a server sends to a browser following a particular request for a page. These codes may include 200, 301, 404 and 503, for example, and each code serves a particular purpose. A 404, for instance, indicates that a page has not been found. A 503 means that the server is temporarily offline for maintenance or due to overload.

If you want to maintain your site faultlessly, you need to know your HTTP status codes, and you can read up on them in more detail here: HTTP status codes and what they mean for SEO.

Types of redirects

There are a couple of redirects that you’ll run into on a daily basis, so it’s a good idea to remember them:

  • 301 Permanent
  • 302 Found
  • 307 Temporary

These aren’t really redirects, but still useful:

  • 410 Content deleted
  • 451 Content unavailable for legal reasons

301 Permanent redirect

The 301 is one of the most common redirects, and you should use this if you permanently want to redirect a deleted or moved page, or if you’ve changed something in your permalink structure. This code tells search engine robots that the page in question is no longer available at this location and that it should not be indexed anymore. If you don’t set a redirect correctly, the chances are your visitors – and crawl bots – will see 404 error messages – and that’s not something you want to happen.

Since a 301 permanently leads visitors from the old URL to a new one, you should only use it if you’re sure you’ll never use the old URL again. If you do want to use the

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This article was written by Edwin Toonen and originally published on SEO blog • Yoast.

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