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What header to use for redirect?

Hi guys,

In my CMS I've come up with the concept of symbolic links, to be used in the menu. Normally every menu item just loads a page, but an item with a symbolic link redirects the user to another page (e.g. a to a different language version of the website, or to the photo album).

Now from a SEO perspective, I'm wondering what header I should use for this redirect, is a 301 appropriate here?

Hope someone has some advice on this!


[quote author="mvdg27" date="1219701538"]Hi guys,
Now from a SEO perspective, I'm wondering what header I should use for this redirect, is a 301 appropriate here?

A 301 redirect is the 'Google approved' way to redirect an indexed page to a new URL, and not lose your index status in Google rankings. Typically, you do this when you move or change the URL of a page. For instance, I've changed page names, like my about.php and renamed it to about<companyname>.php (to help with SEO company name branding effort). So, I added a 301 redirect in my .htaccess file.

The way that you're talking about using this... I'm not sure. If you want my opinion, I think you'll have to explain it a little more... I'm just not getting it.

I re-read what you posted... I think what you're saying is that when someone clicks on one of your menu links, you're sending them to a CI redirect() function, right? If so, I think that might not be a smart idea. 301 redirect's purpose is to inform the browser that this page has been permanently redirected to a new location. You'd be 'abusing' (for lack of a better word) the intended purpose of this directive.

Now, does Google have measures for detecting this practice?? I'm not sure. My gut feeling is that this has a Spammy feeling to it. And it's best (if you are running a 100% white-hat deal), to steer as far away from spammy feeling practices as possible.

That's just my $.02.

Ok, let me explain a little bit better:

Some of my pages are always redirected to another page. I've called them symbolic links.

So for example a menu item with this url: "domain.com/website/photoalbum/" is automatically redirected to it's symbolic link, being "domain.com/photoalbum/album1".

Now this is done by a redirect, through CI. My question now, is if this is a situation in which you would use the 301 header?

Hope I've been more clear on this one Smile


Just now saw your new post. You're explanation seems to be correct yes ..

Do you really think this could come accross as spammy by Google?

Sorry, I'm beating this to death, but I keep having new ideas...

Anyway, you need to think of this in terms of what server messages get sent back to the browser.... if every time your menu link is 'clicked', a 301 message is sent back to the browser (instead of the expected 200 status), then I think that's probably a bad thing to do. The Google bot queues up every link on your page, and sooner or later follows each of your links from any given page. If the Google bot process detects that so many links from your page result in a 301 instead of a 200, then I think you'd get flagged as a spam site.

Again, just my $.02... take it or leave it.

Ok, fair enough .. I see your point here. I'll think my approach over.

If anyone has any different input on this, by all means!

Thanks so far! Michiel

[quote author="mvdg27" date="1219706213"]Do you really think this could come accross as spammy by Google?[/quote]

Put simply... yes.

Google's #1 concern is making its results relative to the search query. Spammers and black-hats #1 goal is to trick Google and manipulate their sites to get ranked highly. So, Google spends a LOT of effort in trying to detect black-hat techniques.

Well, redirecting... (or at least the abuse of redirecting) is probably detected as a spammy technique.

A popular black-hat technique using redirecting is to display different content to different user agents (such as if the useragent is GoogleBot, then display this page... if user agent is Windows XP, then display this other page [the spam page]). That's called 'cloaking'.

There are other, more tricky ways of cloaking, but redirecting is probably the simplest (and most easily detectable).

I'd stay away from redirecting, unless you do it from your .htaccess file, and the purpose is because you renamed/deleted a page and want to redirect your traffic to the new page without losing your index.

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