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Top Reasons You Should Hire a Redirect Consultant

A redirect is used to send your audience from one page to another when you have made changes to your existing page, changed the domain address, or deleted a page. It is used when you want to direct your visitors to a new page without changing the URL. Let’s see what redirects are and when do you need them.

Ever since Google launched the Core Web Vitals, web admins have been worried about their website rankings. A lot goes in the back-end when it comes to analyzing your website performance in the search engine. Google bots check every aspect of your website, including the content, loading speed of your pages, customers’ experience, and even the redirect links.

Implement Redirects

One way to make your site’s navigation easier for your customers is by improving your internal and external linking structure. These are all parts of SEO. However, SEO optimization is more than good content, a mobile-friendly website, smooth navigation, and fast loading pages. You need to pay attention to the technical aspects of your website as much as the on-page and off-page optimization. For Google, user experience matters the most.

Have you ever visited a website only to get redirected to another page? Well, nobody likes that! It happens when the website owner has deleted the page you have been looking for and replaced it with another page. They have set up the redirect links to send you to a new page. So, when you open the website URL, you are redirected to another page. It may seem a little inconvenient, but it is a lot better than a 404-error message (which shows up on your screen when the page you are looking for does not exist).

Almost every website owner has a couple of internal and external links that send your audience to the error page. Imagine the number of customers you are losing to your competitors because you couldn’t offer them what they were looking for. That’s why redirects are important. You need to set up these pages for every link or web page that’s deleted, not indexed by Google, takes too long to load or is temporarily inactive.

In this post, we will walk you through everything you need to know about redirects, how they work, what they can do for your business, and how they can help your website ranking. Most importantly, we will give you the reasons you need to hire a redirect SEO consultant to work on this technical part of your website optimization. So, let’s take a look.

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Why are Redirects Needed in the First Place?

You might be wondering what’s the purpose of the redirects. As mentioned earlier, these are for the deleted pages.

Let’s say you run an eCommerce store and have many external links that send your audience to the product page. You have set up a link for the product pages and sent them to bloggers, influencers, and affiliate marketers. You also have added these links to your blogs and other pages. You decide to take that product off your website and delete the page. Now, what about the links that send viewers to your product page? Every time a user clicks on the URL of this page, they will get an error message that says “Page Not Found.” If you have included links to these pages on your website, it will hurt your website’s ranking.

That’s where the redirects come into the picture. They allow you to replace those pages with a page and redirect your customers to new content. The redirects are also helpful for people who have bought a new domain address for their existing website.

For Preventing Duplicate URLs

One website can exist on duplicate URLs. For example, if you have switched from HTTP to HTTPS, you will have the same content on both protocols, making it hard for the Google bots to index your pages. It is also seen in websites that start with www and the version without www. This problem can be fixed by implementing a 301 redirect that redirects your viewers to a single updated page.

When Do You Need to Implement Redirects?

Redirects are needed when:

  • You change the URL structure of the page
  • Migrate HTTP to HTTPS
  • You move your website from one domain to another
  • You merge two websites
  • You upgrade your website, which leads to changes in its structure

You may need redirects if you delete pages from your website or the backlink your website is pointing to is removed from the search engine. It is important to consult with a redirect consultant before making any changes on your own. Redirecting can have a negative impact on your SEO and customer experience if it is done incorrectly.

If you take the help of an SEO team or a redirect consultant, people won’t even notice they have been redirected. So, the question is, how do you set up the redirect page? Or, how can you ensure that your customers will be sent to the new pages when they click on the links to the pages that no longer exist? Let’s see.

Setting up a Redirect

The process is a little tricky for website owners. Unless you are a tech-savvy web admin, it is best to leave the task to a professional SEO expert as they can set up the redirect for your whole website, a couple of pages, or external pages easily. It is a copy-paste job, but you are supposed to get the correct .php code and copy it in the appropriate folder in your website hosting location. As soon as you are done setting up the redirect page, the 301 redirect link will get activated, and your visitors will be sent to the new page. Even if they have typed the URL of your old website or an outdated product that’s no longer available on your store, you can rest easy knowing that the redirect link will bring them to the right page.

Imagine changing each page on your website to a new page manually. First of all, it is impossible to replace the links of hundreds of pages with the links to new sites. Not only will that be a lot of work, but you may already have distributed your business cards and other printed materials to your customers. How will they know the link to your new websites? The best thing you can do is create a redirect. Creating a new link does not make sense as a vast majority of your customers already have the old links. Besides, it does not make a big difference. Your audience will hardly notice getting redirected to another page. They will find the same content and pages, just with the new link.

Types of Redirects

301 Redirect

This is the fastest and safest way to redirect your audience to a new page. Let’s say you are upgrading your website by removing the old articles with the updated ones. You don’t want to remove the existing links, as it is already indexed. You can apply a 301 redirect, which will bring people to the updated article. Nothing changes, but the old article will be deleted and replaced by a new one. And, the new article will now show up in the search engine.

302 Redirect

This is a temporary redirect. You have deactivated a certain page from your website for a brief period, but you plan on restoring it later, so you have set up 302 redirects. This will temporarily send your website traffic to the new page until you restore the original page. The 302 redirect works, but it is relatively more complex to set up than the 301 redirects. Note that it is only for temporary use. It’s best to avoid it unless absolutely necessary.

Meta Refresh

These are the page-level redirects that do the same job as 301 and 302 redirects, except that they are slow and deliver poor usability. You should consider the above alternatives, as they are much better. Meta Refresh leads your viewers to a page that says, “if you are not redirected in 3-10 seconds, please click here”. Let’s admit it – nobody wants that. Instead, people will press the back button and use your competitor’s website instead of waiting for your page to load. Meta Refresh can also hurt your search engine rankings.

Now that you know various types of redirects and their uses, let’s take a look at a few important reasons you need to hire a redirect consultant before setting up the redirect. Let’s take a look.

Hire Redirect Consultant for Your SEO

Redirect plays an essential role in your website’s SEO. That’s because Google prioritizes user experience above everything. If you have several pages that redirect your viewers to the 404 error page, you need to either replace it with a new link or remove those links altogether. Either way, it is important to check out and locate the pages that display errors. You need to remove or replace these pages to provide your customers with a decent user experience.

Here’s how a redirect consultant can help you with the redirect links.

Improve Your SEO

As mentioned above, your redirect link has a significant impact on your SERP ranking. However, just setting up a redirect for the pages that do not get indexed or are permanently removed from the search engine is not going to work.

You need to ensure that you have set up the redirect correctly, or it will hurt your SERP ranking. It goes without saying that redirects work only when they are implemented properly. A bad implementation will result in the loss of traffic to your website and a low search engine ranking. That’s why it is better to hire redirect consultants and discuss your goals with a professional before setting up the new pages for your new links.

Good for Website Migration

It’s hard to set up the 301 or 302 redirects for a couple of blogs, let alone migrating the whole website. You need a website migration strategy for a bigger project, such as switching from HTTP to HTTPS or setting up a new website. Whether you are updating your URL structure or changing your site’s domain, a redirect consultant can give you the best advice on which redirect setup can be used to ensure a hassle-free migration of your website to a new page. They will also notify Google of the changes on your domain so that Google bots can index the new pages.

Check Your Redirect Set Up

Now that you have set up the 301 redirects, how do you know if it redirects your audience to the right page? That’s where the redirect checker tools come into the picture. These tools show you the path the redirected link follows to send your audience to the new pages without deleting the old links or the domain address. If a certain URL is redirected multiple times or if it takes longer than average to load, your audience will abandon your page. This happens when you delete a page that has already been redirected. It keeps adding to the chain, making the pages slow to load for your audience.

If you want a stellar experience for your audience, you need to check the redirect setup. It is not a one-time process. After implementation, you have to use the redirect checker tools to monitor the performance of each link and see how it works in the search engine. A redirect consultant or an SEO specialist is familiar with the best redirect link checker tools that give you insights into the performance of your redirect links.

They Help Move HTTP to HTTPS

If you haven’t already made a switch, now is the time to hire an SEO company and migrate your website address from HTTP to HTTPS. Migrating your website’s address also means sending your traffic to the new page. This will be a bigger project, as it is not about replacing a few blogs or outdated products with the latest ones. You have to migrate the whole website in such a way that your audience does not even notice the change, and they enjoy the same experience as they did before migration.

Basically, the redirect consultant will set up 301 redirects to move HTTP to HTTPS permanently. You can try a few WordPress plugins to set up redirects, but it is better not to rely on them when you are moving the whole website content. You should hire a professional to have the redirect set up easily. Make sure you inform Google about the changes you have made to your website. This can be done through the Search Console.

A professional consultant will take care of the migration. They will also notify Google after the implementation of 301 redirects. The best part is that a redirect consultant will monitor the migration from the beginning until it is done. They will also check if everything is working well for your audience. How do they like the experience, and how much time does it take to load your new website? These small things can make a big impact on your search engine ranking. Besides, search engine bots need to crawl your pages for indexing.

Better User Experience

The success of your website and SEO depends on a lot of factors other than content. You may be posting the best quality content or have a wonderful website, but your audience will not stick around if you have plenty of blank pages that display a 404 error message. This is not only about moving your website to a new domain address or updating content on your pages. You may also have linked to the external blogs or research pages that might get deleted later.

Suppose you run a digital marketing website. You have added multiple blogs and inserted links to third-party marketing tools. You have also added links to the blogs and research articles that give your audience more information about your services. What if these tools or blogs get deleted from the search engine? When a user clicks on these pages from your website, they will get an error message. This results in poor user experience, and in turn, a low search engine ranking. The problem is here locating the pages that no longer exist and replacing them with new content.

Experts say that you should not delete a page from the search engine until you have the backup ready. The biggest advantage of hiring an SEO specialist or a redirect consultant is that they will monitor your website’s performance, check all the backlinks that redirect your viewers to the 404 error page, and implement a proper redirect plan to resolve the issue.

Redirect to the Right Pages

The purpose of redirects is to send your website traffic to a similar page that is updated a little bit or has fresh content that looks relevant to your audience. For example, let’s say you had a product page for a red gown. The gown is out of stock, so you have to remove the page now. You can implement a redirect, but make sure your users are redirected to a similar gown or a dress of the same color.

That’s because your audience clicks on the URL to get the old product. They will be annoyed if they are redirected to a page with Jeans or accessories. Similarly, if you are redirecting your audience to a new blog, you should make sure that it is relevant to the older blog or what your audience is looking for.

Avoid Chains and the Loops

Simply put, chains and loops occur when there is more than one redirect between the original and the current web page. This problem occurs during the website migration.

Suppose your ‘service’ page was on location A when you created your website. You decided to move it to location B, as you made changes to the URL structure. You launched a new website and moved the service page to location C. This created the chain. The loop is unnecessary, and it can hurt your website ranking since it takes a lot of time to load when the user is redirected from A to B to C. You should avoid these.

Hire a redirect consultant who has experience in fixing the chain and loop issues in website redirects. The professional will remove B from the chain and directly link locations A and C. This will speed up the loading process and give your audience a seamless experience. In fact, people won’t even notice when they are redirected if you keep the process simple.

How Long Do You Need the Redirect?

John Muller from Google has said that “After a few years the old URLs are often no longer accessed & you can drop those redirects.” A redirect can be removed after a few years, as the older pagers are no longer accessible, and people will automatically be sent to your current URLs (whether or not you have the redirects implemented). So, these are not needed once this duration is over.

However, if you are not sure about the numbers, there is absolutely no harm in keeping the redirects. As we mentioned before, people barely notice that they are redirected. Besides, it does not affect your user experience at all. If anything, the redirects only improve their experience by sending them to updated pages. So, you can keep them for as long as you want.

Bottom Line

While redirects are the best for websites migrating their domain or upgrading the web pages, it should be done by a professional if you need the best results. Hire a redirect consultant to ensure a smooth and hassle-free migration of your website from one point to another. Let your customers enjoy the best experience on your website. Good Luck!

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Last Updated in January 2022 by Lukasz Zelezny