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Redirect types, When to use, How Google reacts

 6:28 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have an even more basic question.
Can someone point me to the most basic, basic, thread on the different redirects, what they are, how they are used, and which ones are the preferred ones to use.

I have an established website blanketyblank.com, and I want to start using a new URL blicketyblick.com. Can you tell me the most basic place to start on this, so I don't screw it up?




 6:56 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

Welcome to the forums, Purposeinc.

Here's one decent thread about using a 301 [permanent] redirect at the domain level.

There is a lot more here on the topic -- use Google and include site:webmasterworld.com plus your chosen keywords to discover a treasure trove of input.

As you will read, transferring existing content to a new domain is not easily done these days, with regard toGoogle results, at least. In the past a domain level 301 was the best practice, assuming that urls stayed the same except for the domain itself.

It's still a good way to go -- but the "sandbox effect" that most new domains experience can place a delay of months into the process.

Placing a 301 redirect at the page level can be a nasty job, and still bangs into the new domain name challenge.

302 [temporary] redirects should not be used, because they are seen as temporary so the new domain may never make it. If you are on an IIS server beware: 302 is the default and a 301 requires an extra tick box (for permanent redirect -- the server software does not mention the http header code).

Other things people try include:
1. a fast meta-refresh. This can be deadly becaus eit's a common spamming technique.
2. a javascript redirect -- probably invisible to the spider for a long time
3. a link on the old page pointing to the new page. I had some luck with this, but it was before the "sandbox effect" came into play.

The bottom line for me with launching a new domain for existing content is that there is no easy answer. The 301 domain level redirect is the least problematic. But there will be a bump in the road until the Google algorithm is convince that the new domain shows enough signals of quality -- however they define it at the moment.


 7:20 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

Here is a question that relates to the 301 question but with a different model. We have 2 existing sites (mainsite and supportsite) that are both about 4 years old and we would like to "consolidate" (due to some original, but duplicate content that both sites share).

It it acceptable for Google to do a 301 domain re-direct from "supportsite" to "mainsite"? Is there any danger or benefit to the mainsite in doing this 301 re-direct currently with Google?



 7:21 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

Another 301 redirect purpose is to fix or avoid one type of "canonical" problem -- where a domain is seen as two different sites, one with and one without the "www". In this case, a 301 redirect can send all traffic from the not-preferred version of the url to the preferred version.

Reference: [webmasterworld.com...]


 6:02 am on Feb 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

Thanks for all of the data.

An even more basic question.

I understand what a redirect does now. It is some type of programming that directs the user or search engine bot to another URL.

What actually is a redirect? Is it code on the webpage? or is it something that the Webhost does? Is it HTML or something else?

Much Apreciation for advice!


 6:22 am on Feb 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

301 and 302 redirects are done on the server -- the server responds to the intial request for a url that the specific url is now found somewhere else, and then the browser/spidr/user-agent can request that new url. These can be done directly as server configurations, or, if you have the use of scripting languages such as PHP and ASP, through script on the web page that "talks to" the server.

Javascript happens in the browser and meta-refresh also happens in the browser. Both are are done through code on the web page.

janejanejane, yes this is acceptable. The Google index will not show "supportsite" under these conditions, but only "mainsite". One concern I can see might come from moving a lot of content at once. Probably better to do a gradual and phased movement if many pages are involved.


 4:43 pm on Feb 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

>> What actually is a redirect? <<

Each time you make a request to a server it will respond with a HTTP header, and that may then be followed by some HTML content (or a PDF, text, image, or whatever file).

If the HTTP header includes "200 OK" then that will be followed by a page of content. The URL was valid. That URL will be indexed by search engines.

If the HTTP header includes "301 Moved" then the next line of the header will be the URL that the browser now needs to ask for to get to the content. The "301" is "Moved Permanently". The browser now re-requests the new URL and it is that target URL that will be indexed by search engines (just as long as it returns a "200 OK" code when you get there).

If the header includes "302 Temporarily Moved" then the next line will be the temporary URL of where the content is. The search engine will list the initial URL for the content, as the redirect points to a temporary location.

If you have multiple URLs that all return the same content with "200" status, then you confuse the search engine. Use the 301 redirect to tell them which one you want indexed, while allowing anyone to access the content through all the other publised URLs that exist. The most basic form is non-www vs. www versions of a site. It also applies where you have .com and .net having the same content, or long and short versions of a company name etc. Use the 301 redirect to fix things.

If the header includes "404" then the URL should no longer be indexed. There is no page at that location.

Use a program like WebBug to confirm that your site returns the correct status code for the various types of pages that you have.


 6:04 pm on Feb 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

Where do I create the redirect?

I use an upper level domain name registration service, that also does my web-hosting. Will it be something that I set up through them, or something that I write into my Page?



 6:12 pm on Feb 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

On an Apache webserver you add a few lines of code to the .htaccess file to get this done.

See over here [google.com] for more information.


 12:20 pm on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

Thank you G1SMD

I have been trying hard to study and undertand.

I am trying to do a redirect from an old domain name, to a new one.

Let us say that the old domain name is Example1.com and the new site is Example2.com

I tried creating a .htaccess file but I must be doing something wrong. At my hosting company, they said I can put an .htaccess file on my account.

So my example1 website is normally stored in a folder called.


I created a document in the folder called

.htaccess.txt using Notepad

I then renamed the file to .htaccess

I then tried pasting the following code into the example1folder

Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^domain\.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ [domain.com...] [L,R=301]


What I am not sure about in the above code, is which part of the code are the variables that I fill in with my old domain name, and which with the new one?

Or perhaps I am making some other mistake?

Thank you very, very, much for helping on this. I know these questions have been asked many times on WebmasterWorld, it is quite difficult to make sense of the whole thing for a new guy!



 7:37 pm on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

You will need this lot (three redirects):

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^domain-one\.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$
http://www.domain-two.com/$1 [L,R=301]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www\.domain-one\.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$
http://www.domain-two.com/$1 [L,R=301]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^domain-two\.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$
http://www.domain-two.com/$1 [L,R=301]

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