Monday, January 5, 2015

Big Question: When to Use 301 Redirection and Canonical Tag

For any redirection in web pages, there are two options for it one is 301 HTTP code and another is Canonical Tag. But big question is that when to use which???

Before few days ago my colleague was trapped in redirection codes. He didn’t know which is better, even didn’t know that both are different. So here I am bringing a good concept on the Redirection of web pages.

Big Difference: -

301 Redirection: - It says to search engine that I don’t want to see a page longer, redirect it to another page (your new page). Remove it from the Index and pass all credits to the new page.

Canonical Tag: - It says to search engine that I have a page with multiple version, so index this page only and keep other pages for visitors to see and never include other pages in your index. Pass all credits to the preferred page.

Now a question is raised in your mind that, when to use which and which is better???

301 Redirection:

It is nothing but a simple HTTP Status Code, that always been a standard for managing the permanent redirection of a page. When a browser receives this status code, it will automatically redirect to the new URL which is mentioned in 301 code.

When to Use:

  • It is a default method to redirect as well as preferred one.
  • Used to redirect pages permanently and no longer the old one.
  • To redirect the domains permanently.
  • Especilly for the broken (404 error) URLs and expired content page redirection.

Canonical Tag: Rel=”Canonical”

If anyone thinks that canonical is a substitute of 301redirection than it is completely wrong. Both are used for different scenario. Many times a situation is arised when multiple pages have similar content (Not same content), at that time the Canonical tag come in a picture.

Let’s learn it with one good example.

There is a e-commerce based website, in which there is an option that one can see the products as per Alphabetically order and also can see by price range (lower to higher, higher to lower). Now both the pages have similar data, so at that time Rel=”Canonical” tag is used. Now admin of a website thinks that product with price page is better one, so in this case add this tag on the alphabetically pages with the price link.
How to write Rel=”Canonical” Tag:

<link rel="canonical" href="" />

When to Use: 

  • Similar content on website but want to keep both pages alive
  • Dynamic pages with multiple web URLs of a single webpage (like order by price, sorting etc.)
  • Side with considerations (domainname/pages/index.php to domainname/pages for the same page) can be easier with canonical tag than 301 redirections.
  • Your multiple sites are similar, but need to remain live.

Hope that now you will get the main differences between the 301 redirection and Rel=”canonical” Tag.

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See here my other post on Importance of Schema and Microformat.

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