How to Use a Meta Redirect

A Meta Redirect is a META tag that, when a visitor arrives at your webpage, automatically redirects their browser to a different webpage. There are several reasons why you might want to use a meta redirect. You might need to take a webpage offline for a short time while you edit it, or you might want to delete the webpage while not losing the traffic it receives.

<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0;url=">

Shown above is example code for a meta redirect. You would simply paste this code into the <head> section of your webpage. The meta redirect has two parts. The first part is the http-equiv="refresh"content attribute. This is where you enter the url that you want to redirect the browser to.

Note that the content attribute has two parts separated by a semicolon. The first part is a digit that tells the browser the number of seconds to delay before redirecting. Note in the example above that the digit zero causes the browser to redirect immediately. In this case, the visitor may not even see the webpage being redirected.

Some Webmaster's wanting to be extremely courteous to their visitors will place a message on the webpage being redirected. The message might say "Please wait while we redirect you to the new page". Sometimes the message will accompanied by a link to the new webpage in case the visitor's browser doesn't work or the visitor is impatient and want to go to the new webpage immediately.

In the case where you want to display a message before the redirect, you would set the delay digit to 5 or 10 to give the visitor some time to read the message before the webpage is redirected.

Be aware that search engines do not like meta redirects. When a search engine encounters the meta refresh directive, it ignores the webpage containing the redirect and it does not follow the url to the new page. This is because in the past meta redirects have been used to show the search engine one page, while showing a different page to visitors.

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