Weekly WordPress Tip Number 7

How to Redirect Web Page URLs in WordPress

A redirect sends people to a different web address (URL) than the one they entered into a browser or clicked on in a link. But why would you want to do that? And if you did, how would you do it in WordPress?

The most common type of redirect is called a 301. This is a status code that indicates a page has moved permanently. Another type of redirect is a 302, which behaves exactly the same way but indicates only a temporary move..

When and why should you use a redirect?

Anytime something has existed on the internet, but no longer does, its web address should be redirected to another one, unless the content is no longer relevant, in which case you should create a “410 gone” response. And in nearly all cases, it’s probably better to redirect someone to something that is relevant than simply telling them ‘Sorry, this page no longer exists’.

So whenever you rename a page or remove a page and place the content elsewhere, you need to create a redirect, as redirects pass between 90-99% of link juice (ranking power) onto the new page. Not only does this make it great for retaining SEO value, it also provides a seamless user experience. So if someone’s bookmarked one of your pages, but you’ve changed the web address, they don’t have to scrabble around working out where the stuff they want to see has gone. Or worse, give up and go to one of your competitors.

Another common scenario is when a page changes which is regularly linked to in a newsletter campaign. Emails will include the old link and could still be shared or referenced and therefore you want the link to retain its value. Having a redirect in place will solve this.

How do I redirect a page in WordPress?

Creating a redirect is usually achieved by writing a line or two of code. But with WordPress, it’s very simple using a free plugin called Redirection. This not only allows you to create redirects in seconds, but also offers advanced features for configuring automatic 301 redirects whenever you change the address of any web page.

Redirection also has a handy feature that monitors missing pages, more commonly known and displayed as 404 errors and saves them to a log. You can then easily map these to a 301 redirect.

The Redirection plugin

You can download it for free from the WordPress plugin directory. Once installed, you’ll find options for adding redirects under Tools > Redirection.

To manually add a redirect enter the source URL (the web address you’re redirecting from), and then enter the target URL (the new web address you’re redirecting to).

Click ‘Add Redirection’. Job done.

Example

Source URL: http://www.mywebsite/old/web-page/

Target URL: http://www.mywebsite/new/web-page/

Add a page redirect using the Wordpress Redirection plugin