Rethinking Redirects for a New Website: 302 vs Meta Refresh

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February 17, 2013 by Brian Rock

It’s been about three weeks since I’ve re-launched my digital photography blog on it’s new domain – http://rockin-photogs.com.

The idea was to republish some of the old content from my old site (which was demolished by a Penguin penalty), use temporary redirects to send any residual traffic from the old site to the new one, and eventually turn off the redirects in a few months once the new site has reached a certain level of traffic (50 to 100 organic visits per day).

I chose to use a 302 redirect, because I thought that would send people to the new site seamlessly without redirecting links and crawlers to the new site. I wanted to keep the referral traffic going to my old site (~25 visits per day) without redirecting all of the links that potentially earned my old site the penalty.

I checked Google Webmaster Tools today, however, and was surprised to see thousands of links pointing to the new domain. Doh. It turns out that Google does follow those 302 redirects, and at least in terms of Webmaster Tools the links are now considered to be pointing at the new site. Not what I wanted.

I’m using the Quick Page/Post Redirect Plugin to handle the redirects. This lets me set up a redirect on a per-post basis, so once I republish an article I can send it to the new site. There’s also an option to use a Meta Refresh redirect, and I went through and changed a few of the posts to this option. I’m hoping that this will then drop the backlinks from my profile, and eliminate the risk of a new penalty.

The trouble with this is that there’s a delay in the redirect – it won’t send the user to the new page until the first page has finished loading. I assume that this will increase the bounce rate and cost me a few visitors, but I’d rather be conservative with the redirects than risk blowing up a new domain and wasting all the effort I put into rebuilding this site.

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One thought on “Rethinking Redirects for a New Website: 302 vs Meta Refresh

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