Jon’s In Waikiki (AKA The Waikiki Marketer)

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Redirects – How They Can Make All Your Marketing Worthless

March 19th, 2007 · No Comments

Let’s say you’re walking down the street, on the way to buy some new T-Shirts. The ones you have are stretched in the neck, have holes plus they have stains. None of those stains resemble any of the Church-recognized Saints or Star Wars characters, so you can’t sell them. Even if you could, you still need new ones, so that’s what you’re going to get today. You continue on your way, almost to the door of where you get all your T-shirts – the Hooters gift shop (Yes, you’re a class act all the way).

But you arrive and the place is completely empty. No tables, no chairs, no young ladies working their way toward a degree in cosmetology. What do you do? Luckily there’s a paper sign taped to the door. “We’ve moved 3 blocks away to 811 Clark St. Please visit us there.” Now, there’s one more sentence below that – and that’s the one that makes all the difference, at least for our purposes.

Before we return to your journey, we need to look at the 2 main redirects. Both go by numbers, 302 and 301. There are one or two others, but those will take care of probably 99% of your needs. So we can safely focus on them.

A 302 redirect tells the search engines that the web page, or the entire site, has moved temporarily. Why would you use a temporary redirect? To be honest, I don’t know of a lot of reasons. However, one that leaps to mind is a situation where your site is corrupted or not working properly for some reason. Instead of giving visitors an error page and losing business, you redirect them to another domain where you have the site up for the time being.

Being a 302 redirect, the human visitor is sent to your temporary home, but the search engine gets a special message. The 302 tells them you’re only going to be at this new address for a little while. So, you don’t want your search engine listing to change to this new address. They understand and leave your domain as is. A couple of days later, you return to your domain and your search engine listings, and rankings, are kept up.

Now a 301 redirect does the same thing, the only difference is it tells the search engines that the move is permanent. So the search engines are going to change your listing to reflect the new domain AND they’ll pass on the link credit, and any other credit you’ve built up, to your new address. That way you don’t have to start all over.

If you use the wrong one, you’re going to screw up your online business. And it won’t be easy to fix. That’s why it’s so important to know how they work and which one to use. It can make all your internet marketing, and even real world marketing, worthless. Because if they can’t find you, they can’t buy from you.
Back to our story – that last sentence on the sign says ‘Please come to our new permanent home’. So you, and a bunch of other guys who have walked up while you were reading this, update your BlackBerries with the new address. It’s a real world 301 redirect, telling all their business to go to the new place 3 blocks away from now on. The old address can be safely forgotten and they won’t lose any customers.

Make sense? Try Googing ‘301 redirect’ to find out all the technical details that are out of the scope of this post. Your internet marketing depends on it. So go to Google right now and do it.

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