301 Redirects and Search Engine Optimization
There are multiple reasons to redirect URLs. For one, your web pages may have moved but
their old URLs may still live in users' bookmarks or in search engine indexes. Without
implementing some sort or redirection, that traffic would be lost to a 404 Error Page.
On occasions, you may also want to register several extensions for your domain name :
"mydomain.com", "mydomain.net" and "mydomain.org", and have "mydomain.net" and
"mydomain.org" automatically redirect visitors to your site, hosted under "mydomain.com".
Furthermore, if your company sells several products, you may want to give each of them
an individual domain name, and have it point to a specific subdirectory of your main site.
For example, if you own a site called "businessvideos.com" that sells a product called
"Marketing Made Easy", you may want to set up a domain such as "marketingmadeeasy.com",
and redirect it to subdirectory: www.businessvideos.com/marketingmadeeasy/.
There are several ways to redirect domains, however, most of them will get you in
trouble with the search engines. The search engine friendly way to redirect URLs is to use
what is know as a 301 redirect (you can see how Google and Yahoo! specifically endorse
this kind of redirection). Here is my take about the different redirection methods and
their implications on search engine optimization:
of the page you want to redirect. With this method, you can specify the number of seconds
before the visitor is automatically redirected to the new page. Search engines don't like
this method, because of the potential for abuse: you could write an optimized page for a
non-competitive search term, and then automatically redirect your unsuspecting visitor to
whatever URL you want.
For example, it could be relatively easy to write a page about english literature, have
it indexed and highly ranked by the search engines, and then redirect your visitor to a
casino or Viagra site. If search engines allowed this, users would quickly stop trusting
them. That is why search engines penalize this practice, and why you should avoid it.
You could register an additional domain name, park it, and make it point to the DNS
servers of your main site's hosting account, so that when somebody types the additional
domain, they will be transported to your main site. However, this approach may lead to
search engines listing the same content twice, one for your main domain, and one for your
In the past, unscrupulous webmasters would use multiple domains to spam search engines
and directories, making them list the same pages hundreds of times under different domains.
Even if your intentions are good, we don't recommend this approach to redirecting your
additional domains, since search engines may penalize your site for duplicate content.