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Redirects are a standard tool for website managers, content designers and marketers. They’re indispensable for giving site visitors the highest-value journeys, forwarding them from pages that no longer exist, have become out of date or are less relevant, to pages that will better meet their needs.

Redirects are also important for SEO, forwarding search engines to the best page. When a search result link goes to a 404 (not found) page, Google takes note and penalises us, pushing us down the rankings.

The redirect content type should not be used to create short, vanity URLs like as redirects created using the the method below will always have england or scotland prefixed as the subdomain. Instead the Vanity URL content type should be used.

 To create a page-to-page redirect:

  1. Use Add entry to create a new redirect entry

2. In the URL path, from field, enter the full path (beginning with the top section) and click Set, which will give a title to your redirect and will give you a warning to let you know there’s a published page this redirect will over-write (which is what you want).

3. Choose your Redirect type:

  • 301 for a permanent redirect. For SEO, this passes the page authority (the ability of that page to rank highly in search results) to the destination URL In most situations, this is the redirect you’ll want.

  • 302 for a temporary redirect – This tells search engines to keep the from URL in their index and for it to retain its page authority. A scenario where you’d use a 302 is for an annual Christmas event that you know you’ll need to re-use next year, but which doesn’t add value to your users or your site for a few months after the event.

4. Select your To (destination) page. Use the Contentful’s Link to existing option to find and select your page. Your redirect will always follow that page, even if its slug or path changes.

 5. For Capture child page URLs:

  • select Yes if you also want to redirect from any children pages of your main ‘from’ URL in the Navigation component (the tree):

  • Select No if you only want a single page-to-page redirection, with no redirects for pages below your ‘from’

6. For Append child page URLs to destination:

NOTE: This option should only be used in urgent situations. Best practice is to create single redirects for each child page.

  • select Yes if you’ve selected Yes in the field above, and you want all the child pages to now have the same path as the main destination page. In the Sleep Walk example above, this means if you redirect /support_us/events/charity_challenge/sleep_walk (the parent page) to /support_us/events/run (work with me here), the URL path of the child page /support_us/events/charity_challenge/sleep_walk/Manchester will now be /support_us/events/run/Manchester. Make sense?

  • Select No if want all children pages (and grandchildren etc) to redirect to the single destination page

7. For Force redirect:

  • select Yes if your ‘from’ page will stay live on the website

  • select No if your ‘from’ page will no longer be on the live site

Once you’ve checked your fields and are happy, Publish the redirect. It’s now live and should be working. Test it by creating a hyperlink on a page, pointing to your ‘from’ page. It should redirect to the destination.

 Once you’ve published your redirect, if you go to the ‘from’ page in Contentful, you’ll see a message that there is a redirect in place for that page. You can use the Go to redirect link to go view the redirect entry. If you make a change to the redirect, you can Re-check it.

Knowing when a redirect is in place

When there’s already a redirect set up on a page, redirecting users elsewhere, that page will have a notice on it, with a link taking you to the redirect entry in the system.

To remove a redirect:

  1. Find and open your redirect in the main content dashboard

  2. For To, click the 3 dots to the right and remove the destination page

  3. Upper right of your screen, click the 3 dots, choose Delete and then Permanently delete in the window. (Note: when you delete any content in Contentful, make sure any other content is disconnected from it first. The delete window will display links to anything still connected.

  4. The redirect will then no longer exist and your original ‘from’ page will receive traffic – so make sure the page still exists and visitors don’t go to a 404 page. If you need to put the same redirect back in place, you’ll need to create a new content entry for it.

Redirect best practices

  • Avoid redirect chains: one redirect should not forward to another redirect. The longer the chain, the more Google will penalise (in the search rankings) the final page. Instead, reset the original redirect to go from the first starting page to the new destination, and cut out the middle man.

  • Use a 301 redirect for content that’s permanently removed

  • Use a 302 redirect for inactive pages that might be re-used later

  • To turn off a redirect, just delete the redirect entry

Further learning about redirects:

Need help?
For any questions or support, email Lindsay Foley, Content Operations Manager in the Central Digital team.

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