A redirect is a quick message from your user’s browser to say that the page on your site has been moved and points to the new page instead. When building a new website, it’s not all about coding and design. It’s about making sure everything is functioning in the background. Redirects from the old site to the new is one of the most important factors for the user experience.
But don’t worry, we have your back. We’re going to let you in on a few of our top tips for redirecting URLs.
Spreadsheets will become your best friend
Whether redirecting 10 pages or even 1000 pages the organisation of these URLs is key. You want to be setting out all your current URLs side by side with the new ones in a spreadsheet. You want to be able to filter through any unwanted pages and with a clear layout of the old URLs and new ones, there is little chance for confusion.
Let’s keep it relevant
Redirects are there to improve the user’s experience so relevancy is important. Even if there’s no direct match for the page, it’s always recommended that you find the page that is most relevant. For example, imagine if you typed the URL for a page about Lucozade and you got redirected to a page about Orange Tango, you wouldn’t get the best reaction. This has a major impact on your SEO, as the page would get higher bounce rate, lower traffic and impact your keyword rankings.
Keep on top of 404s
We don’t think there’s no bigger buzzkill than being hit with a 404 error page when browsing a site. Not only can these impact on user experience but are generally undesirable for SEO purposes. You can spot your 404s by looking at Google’s Search Console by looking under Crawl errors which will give you all the URLs that have 404 errors.
Keep it tidy
When redirecting to a new page, making sure it’s a permanent change is important. Redirect chains are where a redirect is pointing to another redirect. Having redirect chains can make it more difficult for bots to crawl the site. Also, creates slower site speed and therefore the user’s experience. Spotting redirect chains can be quite difficult. The recommendation is to constantly check all your 301 redirects are only pointing to static pages.
Keep your errors down by removing duplicates
Not every page needs a redirect. When the two URLs are the same, there is no need to redirect the page. This could turn into a redirect loop where the page is stuck between redirecting to URL A and URL B. This is not un-fixable but does tend to need a Developer’s magic touch to put right.
What could happen if your redirects aren’t done properly?
Although these tips may seem simple, they’re often not made a priority. But they are essential building blocks for a great website that runs smoothly. Cannot state enough the importance with how this can affect the SEO of your website and user experience. Your website will become crawler-unfriendly giving your page a slower loading speed.
If you are experiencing any redirection problems, get in touch with us! Sorting out redirects is our bread and butter and I certainly love seeing crawl errors at 0.