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How to: WordPress Redirect to Maximize SEO and Page Speed

How to: WordPress Redirect to Maximize SEO and Page Speed

by Aishwarya

From time to time, it is necessary to update your website’s design and content. This might involve deleting some blog posts, merging sections, or even changing the site’s domain name. Thus, you’ll need to lead visitors to your WordPress website’s new page or address. 

This process, known as a redirect, is necessary to ensure your visitors land on the right page and maintain your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.

This article will show you all there is to know about WordPress redirects, including methods to set it up and how to minimize its usage. 

Before you continue reading this article, ensure that your website uses wordpress hosting or other plans from a reliable web host. It generally offers features that help you set WordPress redirects easily, even without coding.

What Is a WordPress Redirect?

A WordPress redirect tells a browser to direct visitors from the URL they first clicked to a different one. 

Generally, visitors will either receive a message telling them about the redirect, or they’ll be redirected automatically. 

There are various types of URL redirects, such as:

  • 301 Redirect. Permanently moving a page to a different URL. Use this if you change your domain name or delete a post or page. 
  • 302 Redirect. Temporarily redirect visitors to another URL. It’s helpful when you redesign the website or want to take visitors to a page available in their language. 
  • HTTP to HTTPS Redirect. Force browsers to use the HTTPS version of your website. 

Why WordPress Redirects Are Important

WordPress redirects influence key elements of SEO and search algorithms. 

If you change your domain name but do not set redirects, visitors will encounter errors such as “404 not found”. In addition to damaging user experience, these errors will affect how search engines crawl your website pages.

Also, your page rankings might decrease since the site has an outdated structure and non-existent pages. Thus, when implemented correctly, WordPress redirects can improve user experience and SEO. 

In addition to that, WordPress redirects inform search engines about the new location of your content, allowing them to index the correct page and pass on the old page’s SEO rankings.

Minimizing WordPress Redirects

Setting up redirects for specific scenarios is essential. However, unnecessary redirects add extra steps to the HTTP request-response cycle and cause round-trip delay

That’s because WordPress redirects may increase page loading speed. For example, if a visitor types in a site’s URL using HTTP, the browser will send a request to the HTTP version. After that, it will be redirected to the HTTPS URL, resulting in more file requests and longer loading times. 

One way to minimize redirects is to set the permalink settings when you first build the website and before you add posts or pages. Make sure the URL structure is SEO and user-friendly, so you don’t need to change it in the future.

Also, apply proper URL prefixes, whether you use subdomains, HTTP or HTTPS, and www or non-www domains.  

If you aren’t sure how many redirects there are on your website, tools like Redirect Mapper Tool and Google PageSpeed help you identify them.

How to Set Up a WordPress Redirect for SEO

This section will show you how to set up redirects in WordPress using a plugin and editing the .htaccess file.  

Using a WordPress Plugin

Installing a plugin is the simplest way to set up WordPress redirects. 

Here, we’ll guide you through setting up a redirect using the Redirection plugin: 

  1. Start with installing and activating the plugin on your WordPress dashboard. 
  2. Navigate to Tools -> Redirection to run the setup. 
  3. Click the Redirects tab and hit the Add New button. 
  4. Fill in the source and target URLs and keep the default query parameters. You may also leave the Group box as it is or click the Groups tab to organize your redirects.
  5. Complete the setup by clicking Add Redirect

Note that this plugin can only redirect URLs within the same website. If this plugin doesn’t accommodate your needs, the Simple Website Redirect plugin, for example, helps redirect a whole website.

Using Apache

Alternatively, set up redirects by modifying the site’s .htaccess file. This method provides more options as it’s possible to redirect to a different domain name, specific page, or HTTP to HTTPS. 

However, the process is technical and quite complicated, so it’s best to back up the site before performing this method to avoid data loss. 

To get started, locate the .htaccess file – you might need to create it. Then, enter the lines of code below the line RewriteEngine On – add it if necessary.

  • Redirect to a specific page within your website. Enter this code:

Redirect 301 /old-page.html /new-page.html

  • Redirect a domain name to another one. Paste the code below on your .htaccess file: 

RedirectPermanent / http://www.new-domain.com/

  • Redirect HTTP to HTTPS. Insert the following lines:

RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off 

RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301]

Ensure that you replace the example URLs with the actual ones. After editing the .htaccess file, click the Save button, and the redirect should work smoothly. 

Conclusion

WordPress redirects help you transfer visitors from one URL to another. You may need to use them when changing a domain name, redesigning the site, or directing people to the HTTPS version of your WordPress site. 

WordPress redirects can improve user experience and avoid indexing issues if implemented correctly. If not, they may cause delays or errors on your website. Therefore, ensure that you only use redirects when necessary. 

In this article, you’ve learned two methods to set up WordPress redirects:

  • Using a WordPress plugin, like Redirection and Simple Website Redirect. 
  • If you use Apache, edit the .htaccess file.

Be careful when implementing redirects in your website and keep an eye on their performance to avoid broken links and other errors.

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