A Redirect, quite simply is when you reroute one webpage to another. This is frequently done when a website owner changes domains. It’s very useful when you realize that you have created 2 pieces of similar content and only need one to appear on the search engines. The Redirect sends instructions to the internet that basically says, When someone clicks on THIS link, send them to THIS page instead. It doesn’t delete the old page or content and this is a great way to prevent broken links (404′) on your website. Always use a redirect instead of deleting.
What’s the difference between a redirect and rel=canonical? We use a rel=canonical attribute when we want to leave both pieces of content visible, yet tell the search engines which one we prefer they rank on the search engine results page when someone performs a search query that matches our content.
If you are seeing 404 errors in your webmaster tools or SEO tools, it means you have links on the internet that are leading to broken “dead” pages. You will want to create a redirect from the old URL to a new URL.
Types of Redirects:
Although there are others, the most common are:
A 301 redirect is your permanent redirect option. This is the preferred type of redirect and the best for SEO in that the ranking values transfer to the new page.
A 302 direct is a temporary option. None of the ranking power of the original page will carry over to the new page. This is really not a great option. Rarely used, this is sometimes seen on an e-commerce (shopping site) when a product sells out and the website owner wants to send them to a similar product possibly, yet only until they restock. This way, the redirect indicates that the SEO “juice” should stay with the original link and not transfer since the original link will be put back in play.
So how do you do a redirect?
If you are using WordPress, this is pretty easy when you choose one of the many Plugins offered in your “Add a New Plugin” dashboard. Or you can see several doing a simple Google Search for Redirect Plugins.
Using Yoast, an SEO Plugin for WordPress, Creating Redirect is also quite simple.
And Then there’s always the long way. You might choose this in order to avoid lag time that can be caused by WordPress Plugins.