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How to properly redirect between sites?


LiquidFractal

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My main IPS site is a .org domain, and I recently purchased my domain in the .com.au iteration since I am a sole trader business operating in Australia and have read that having a .com.au domain extension can increase your visibility to and traffic from potential Australian clients.

All well and good.  But I'd like to set up a redirect on my .com.au which:

  1. Won't freak out search engines into thinking I'm shady or illegitimate
  2. Isn't a spontaneous redirect, i.e. has some sort of message ("You're in the right place - wait while we take you to the main site"), which is part of
  3. a timed on-screen countdown (that is, an option to wait 10 seconds or click through to main site).

There are dozens of ways to redirect, but as mentioned not all of them are seen as legit.  My cursory research tells me the best way to do this is server-side and have the server send a 301 via .htaccess:

Quote

but this wouldn't give me the user-friendly message before rerouting.  However, meta refresh seems inadvisable, and I'm not sure how the search engines react to the handful of ways to do is in JavaScript.  So it seems as if I can have either the nice 301 spontaneous re-routing or the fancy countdown and transfer with no guarantee search engines will like it.  If that makes sense.

If anyone knows of any way to do both, I'd appreciate some tips.  Thanks!

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3 hours ago, liquidfractal said:

My main IPS site is a .org domain, and I recently purchased my domain in the .com.au iteration since I am a sole trader business operating in Australia and have read that having a .com.au domain extension can increase your visibility to and traffic from potential Australian clients.

All well and good.  But I'd like to set up a redirect on my .com.au which:

  1. Won't freak out search engines into thinking I'm shady or illegitimate
  2. Isn't a spontaneous redirect, i.e. has some sort of message ("You're in the right place - wait while we take you to the main site"), which is part of
  3. a timed on-screen countdown (that is, an option to wait 10 seconds or click through to main site).

There are dozens of ways to redirect, but as mentioned not all of them are seen as legit.  My cursory research tells me the best way to do this is server-side and have the server send a 301 via .htaccess:

but this wouldn't give me the user-friendly message before rerouting.  However, meta refresh seems inadvisable, and I'm not sure how the search engines react to the handful of ways to do is in JavaScript.  So it seems as if I can have either the nice 301 spontaneous re-routing or the fancy countdown and transfer with no guarantee search engines will like it.  If that makes sense.

If anyone knows of any way to do both, I'd appreciate some tips.  Thanks!

I use Cloudflare and 301 redirect at the DNS level rather than .htaccess. They shouldn't freak out if no warning from a ssl certificate etc occurs. But if you wish to time delay a redirect please ignore my suggestion. Though you may want to redirect to a landing page with an option or button to proceed after explaining why they are being redirected or automate a count down and auto redirect:

<html>
<body>
    <div id="counter">5</div>
    <script>
        setInterval(function() {
            var div = document.querySelector("#counter");
            var count = div.textContent * 1 - 1;
            div.textContent = count;
            if (count <= 0) {
                window.location.replace("https://example.com");
            }
        }, 1000);
    </script>
</body>
</html>

 

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You can't do both. The best thing is to just redirect the user using a 301 redirect.

Your users will notice the change eventually and start using the correct domain.

Ideally, keep your old domain and leave it permanently redirecting to your new one for those that are slow to adopt.

If you must have a message displayed to the user before redirecting, a meta refresh would work fine and Google has no problems understanding them (source), but it's still far less ideal to a 301 redirect.

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5 hours ago, liquidfractal said:

Isn't a spontaneous redirect, i.e. has some sort of message ("You're in the right place - wait while we take you to the main site"), which is part of

Not sure why that is important to you. You can put the note on the site on the new location just as well. The current announcement feature should work perfectly fine for this and you can even make it dismissable for registered members. 

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8 hours ago, opentype said:

Not sure why that is important to you. You can put the note on the site on the new location just as well. The current announcement feature should work perfectly fine for this and you can even make it dismissable for registered members. 

Yeah, this is pretty much what I decided to do yesterday - 301 redirect via PHP to a page on my site explaining that they're still in the right place.  Hadn't thought of using the announcement feature though - might be useful.

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Keep in mind that 301 redirecting all requests to a single page can have negative (at least short-term) consequences to your websites search engine ranking, and is still less ideal from a UX standpoint.

It would be better to have them redirected to the page they actually tried to access on the new domain.

You could still leave a general announcement on your site for a while informing members of the move.

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6 hours ago, Makoto said:

Keep in mind that 301 redirecting all requests to a single page can have negative (at least short-term) consequences to your websites search engine ranking, and is still less ideal from a UX standpoint.

It would be better to have them redirected to the page they actually tried to access on the new domain.

You could still leave a general announcement on your site for a while informing members of the move.

Well, there's nothing whatsoever on the .com.au domain - it's just there because a .com.au domain listing has certain benefits for some Australian listings.  So all anyone or anything will ever do is click through to the home directory, which bumps you straight away to a page on .org.

I'm certainly no expert, but the research I did suggested that this was ultimately the way to go.  If I understand correctly, a 301 means that Google won't cache the .com.au content but will cache the follow-through page content.  If that's true, I think opentype has a good idea - go straight to the homepage with an announcement rather than .com.au going to liquidfractal.org/redirect or something like that.

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Ah. I see. I think I misunderstood your original post then.

You want to keep .org as your primary domain, is that it? You aren't wanting to move from .org to your new .com.au domain?

If that is the case, I'm not sure if there's really much benefit in having your new domain. Google won't recognize it as an actual website if all it does is direct you to another domain, meaning it won't likely be indexed or appear under any search results.

A domain has to actually be used for Google to recognize it. Parking pages, or pages that just redirect you to other domains, are not considered valid websites by Google.

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