URL redirect is used to forward your website visitors to active pages from the pages that don’t exist anymore on your Squarespace site. This includes permanent changes (301 redirects) or temporary changes (302 redirects). In this guide you’ll find out how to create a redirect via URL Mappings panel.
The difference between 301, 302 and 307 redirect
301 redirect link should be used for permanent URL changes on your Squarespace site while the 302 is meant for temporary changes. A 301 redirect can be met across the web much more often than the 302 one.
When a user clicks a nonexistent page on your website, the 301 redirect link is used to forward them towards some different URL. This is a way to notify search engines that a page has moved and that they have to transfer the old page’s rank to a new one.
Here are some common reasons for you to use a 301 redirect:
- The page’s URL has been changed.
- You’ve deleted a page from your website and want to redirect users to your homepage.
- You’ve imported content and the URL’s changed.
- You want to redirect to another domain.
302 redirect drives users to a different URL as soon as they click a link to an old page according to URL to URL mapping. This tells search engines that a page was moved temporarily. But in this case the new page won’t be given the same rank as the old one since the redirect is temporary and it will be back online with its old rankings.
Below are common reasons for you to use 302 redirect:
- You need to set aside a page temporarily to update it and map your users towards it later, after adding new offers, etc.
- You need to replace a page temporarily cycling through different offers on your website throughout a year.
307 redirect stands for HTTP response status code signaling that the URL a user requests has been transferred to some temporary location and will be back soon. 307s replaced 302s after the advent of HTTP 1.1. These ones are also used as an internal redirect if HTTPS is enforced.
Below we’ll review some common scenarios for you to set up a 301 redirect on your Squarespace website to forward your audience to the URL where you need them to be.
Use a 301 redirect link when permanently changing the URL of your Squarespace website’s page. To do it, open your page settings and change the URL Slug. After that, go to URL Mapping and create the 301 redirect from /about to /team.
Deleted website pages
In order to prevent your website visitors from seeing your 404 page, set up a 301 redirect link to your homepage or map to any other website’s URL you need. Remember that as the homepage doesn’t have a visible URL slug, you are free to use a blank slug in your 301 redirect.
If you need to forward content from a different host, you need to set up a redirect link as well with a proper URL mapping. You’ll have to check with your previous host to ensure you’ve got a correct URL structure for the first part of your redirect.
Collection items you want to move
If you want to move some collection items like products or blog posts from one page to another, you’ll have to use a 301 redirect to map users correctly.
Some other domains
If you want some URL from your website to map to another domain, then use 301 redirect.
And before we’ll learn how to set up your first redirect on your website, let’s see some important notes you don’t want to miss.
Before you set up your first redirect
Take the following things into account before you proceed to setting up your first redirect:
- On Squarespace, you can only redirect from built-in and custom domains connected to your website. In case your domain is hosted by another provider, map it to your website first, and after that you can start setting up redirects.
- You can not redirect an image or a file URL as static assets are stored by Squarespace delivery network service providers.
- You should keep the same capitalization as your existing URLs. So, if your URLs are all lowercase, then your redirects should be lowercase as well.
- In most cases, redirects do not support ?, &, or # symbols, as they interfere with the redirect process itself. The only exception here is RSS feed URLs - they can contain the ? symbol.
- Make sure that you don’t use any reserved URL slugs in your redirects.
- Your Squarespace website activates redirects from top to bottom, so some higher redirects will be prioritized over the conflicting ones that are below them. If you want some specific redirect to be at the top, place it above the conflicting ones.
- Your redirect will only work in case the page you forward from has been deleted or disabled.
Now you can proceed to making your redirect.
How to set up redirect on your Squarespace website
To form your 301 or any other redirect, follow the steps in the small guide given below:
- Go to the Home Menu, open the settings, then click Advanced.
- Find URL mapping and click it.
- Click into the text field and add your redirect.
- Save the changes.
Keep in mind that when a website visitor activates the 301 redirect more than once within a two minute time period, he’s demonstrated your 404 error page. It is a security measure helping to prevent redirect loops.
What is a redirect loop
Redirect loops usually occur when an URL redirects to some other URL, which in turn redirects back to the URL that was originally requested, and this all happens due to incorrect URL to URL mapping. It all results in an infinite cycle of redirects.
Redirect loops usually serve as a signal of a poor redirect configuration of a website. They can be caused, for example, by incorrect redirect rules in a web server’s configuration or CMS’s redirect manager or some misalignment between those systems.
Commonly, these errors are displayed in the browser. And your Squarespace website visitors won’t see the destination page. The same thing happens with search engines - due to a redirect loop they’ll never end up on a destination page and eventually they’ll stop following it, soon after realizing they’re in the loop.
Keep in mind that a redirect passes on ranking signals from one URL to another, for instance, the link authority and relevance. Within a loop, this process never happens, which means that the website loses those signals. And this hurts your website’s SEO.
How you can fix the redirect loop
If you received a redirect loop error for some URL on your Squarespace website, then check where exactly the URL is redirecting you to. As soon as you find it out, look up that URL and check where that one redirects to. That’s how you find out where the redirect loop starts.
Redirect loop is not similar to the redirect chain as this one does eventually lead to the final URL. From SEO and user’s point of view, it’s better to have redirect chains on your Squarespace website than redirect loops.
Take into notice that browsers cache redirects aggressively, and this can lead to some false positives, as your browser cache holds on to outdated redirects. So, when trying to get rid of redirect loops on your Squarespace website, always clear your browser cache before you start.
After you’ve identified where exactly redirect loops occur on your site, proceed to fixing them and break the loop. And after the loop was broken, clear the browser's cache once again, because the loop can be cached as well.
Redirecting from HTTP to HTTPS
It’s an extremely important step in your Squarespace website evolution as HTTPS is considered as a ranking signal by Google. If you don’t want to lose positions in the search, then it’s highly important to set up this type of redirect.
Setting up a redirect from HTTP to HTTPS requires considering the following things:
- You have to choose an SSL certificate for your site.
- You have to notify Google about your new protocol.
- You need to update all your internal links.
Choosing a certificate for your website is an important step you don’t want to miss. Your SSL certificate will include:
- The certificate authority.
- The server name.
- The server’s public encryption key.
This certificate is used to encrypt the messages between your website and the user. It prevents other users from seeing private info like credit card details or passwords.
Then it’s time to demonstrate to Google your new protocol. First thing you need to know is that Google considers the HTTP and HTTP versions of your Squarespace website as two different sites. So you can go to your Google Search console to verify the HTTPS version of your site. The transfer will take a few days, so don’t worry if you don’t see any changes instantly.
As soon as the redirect will be stored, it’s better to make sure that your internal links have HTTPS URLs and work correctly. To do it, use any popular tool offering site audit options.
What you need to know about new rules of 301 redirection
According to the latest Google changes, there are some things you might want to take into account before starting to use a 301 redirect on your Squarespace website.
You still risk to lose some traffic
While good news here is that Google is no longer penalizing a 301 redirect with loss of PageRank. But this one is only one signal among hundreds of others used by Google to rank pages.
If you 301 redirect to map to some non-relevant URL, don’t expect your redirects to carry any weight. According to Google, such redirects are even treated like soft 404 pages. So, it’s better for you that the only thing that changes when you create a 301 redirect is the URL.
Using 302 redirect for everything is not safe
Not so long ago, Google started treating 302 redirect like 301 due to a huge amount of sites that were implementing the wrong type of redirect for their URL changes. It all led to havoc on how Google rank pages.
Also, there are still some questions remaining, for example, the online community is still not sure whether 301s and 302s are equal in every way. And though 302 is a web standard, there are some other search engines that may treat 302 very differently from Google.
Your traffic has a chance to be saved after you migrate to HTTPS
Google encourages all website owners to migrate to HTTPS and even made it a ranking signal. Still, there are lots of websites that don’t want to move to HTTPS using 301 redirect as it may cost them a huge loss in traffic. And this is probably the reason why Google made the switch to 301s not losing PageRank.
Some redirection best practices
Here are some useful takeaways on working with redirection for your Squarespace website:
- Every redirect is an SEO risk.
- The best 301 redirect is the one where every element remains the same, except for the URL.
- Successful migration to HTTPS now carries significantly lesser risks to lose PageRank, but there are tons of other issues that may negatively impact your website’s position and traffic.
For other helpful tips, check the Squarespace SEO checklist.