Search engines are an important source of traffic for Web sites and provide free advertising. The position a Web site appears in search results is called its ranking. Search engine optimization is the pursuit of better rankings. The field covers a variety of techniques, including redirection. Redirection involves forwarding those who click on al ink from one address to another. This is usually implemented when a page moves. Cname entry and 301 redirect are two methods of redirection.

Redirection and SEO

  • A range of SEO tricks involve redirection. Apart from attempts to give one site an unfair advantage in search results, the method of redirection used by a site is important for SEO because certain methods are penalized by search engines. If the owners of websites do not conform to the rules, search engines demote the rankings of those sites or even delete them from the registry.


  • Redirection was not invented as an SEO technique. It is one of the facilities built in to the protocols that support the World Wide Web. The intention of redirection is to notify Web browsers when pages move addresses. Many pages on the World Wide Web move and keeping track of these changes are a huge administrative task. It would also require Web browsers to store a significant number of addresses. Thus, the standard redirection technique only deals with the addresses you are likely to visit. Web browsers are only required to store the details of a redirection the first time you request a page that has been redirected. The Web browser is unaware that the page has moved, and so contacts the Web server for the required page, The server replies with a redirect code 301 and the new address for the page. The browser then files the redirection for that page.

Domain Name Service

  • The Domain Name Service is a look up system to trace IP addresses from a given Web address. This system creates a DNS database, which is usually a plain text file. The canonical name is the definitive web address of the site and is usually the bare domain name without the “www” at the front. Unfortunately, the “” and “” are treated as two different addresses by search engines, and it is important to point the www version to the canonical name. Search engines then merge all results from these two addresses, consolidating visitor counts and removing the danger of being demoted or suspended for having two sites with the same content. Confusingly, the definitive address of a site is registered as an “A” record, canonical records, indicated by the “CNAME” record point other addresses to the canonical address, which is the “A” record.

CNAME Vs. 301 Redirects

  • Both the CNAME method and the 301 method of redirection are approved by search engines and so the regular use of either will not affect rankings. In fact, when used to define a canonical address, or prevent you from arriving at missing pages, these two methods actually improve rankings. The main difference between the two methods is that a 301 redirect can target a Web page, but a DNS canonical record specializes in renaming the entire site. Each technique is appropriate to different circumstances.

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