HTML Redirect

The HTML redirect allows to introduce a delay before the redirection is performed. It is sometimes called “META refresh” redirect.

Browsers will display the page during the specified time and then move forward to the page pointed to by the redirection.

HTML Redirect and Search Engines

We will specifically look at how Google handles HTML redirections. There are two cases :

- the delay is very short (0, 1 or 2 seconds)

The redirecting page is displayed so briefly that some users might not even notice its presence. Google decides that the content of this page should not be indexed and that the link should be handled as a redirection.

Google method to decide about the preferred URL seems to be similar to its processing of 302 redirections.

- the delay is long enough (3 seconds or more)

The redirecting page is clearly visible to most users. Google will index both the redirecting page as well as the page pointed to by the redirection.

HTML Redirect Source Code


<META HTTP-EQUIV="refresh" CONTENT="seconds;URL=the-other-url">



seconds : the number of seconds the page is displayed, before performing the redirection.

the-other-url : any absolute or relative URL that will be displayed after the delay has expired.

It is recommended that a standard link be added in the page for the few users of browsers that do not automatically follow redirections.

Examples of HTML Redirects

<META HTTP-EQUIV="refresh" CONTENT="5;URL=the-other-page.html">
The redirecting page will be displayed during 5 seconds. After this 5 seconds delay, it will be replaced by “the-other-page.html”.

The redirecting page will be displayed during 12 seconds. After this 12 seconds delay, it will be replaced by the home page of this site.

<META HTTP-EQUIV="refresh" CONTENT="0;URL=another-page.html">
The redirecting page will be displayed and immediately replaced by “another-page.html”. With this zero-delay, many users will not even notice the presence of the redirecting page.

Checking if an HTML Redirect Works

InternetOfficer has designed a free on-line tool to check the working of redirects. This new tool to check redirects analyses the HTTP-header and the page contents and identifies in seconds 301 and 302 redirects and HTML redirects (meta refresh).

15 Responses to “HTML Redirect”

  1. Bob Cahill says:

    What if I want the page to simply change after the visitor views a video?

  2. iJonathan says:

    it doesn’t work, i tried for my site and it doesn’t work. :(

  3. Jean-Luc says:

    The problem was caused by WordPress replacing my " (quotation mark) by ” (right double quotation mark)… It is corrected now.

  4. Breezer says:

    If you want it to change after any other event than a time-delay, you’ll need to use javascript or other plugin – if playing a video, the applet/code playing it needs to fire off either an event if that’s supported, or be able to call javascript that you can then make do what you want and edit the page’s url, or the plugin needs to be able to use the browser’s plugin API to switch page itself.

  5. neil strauss says:

    Previously this technique is used to increase the number of page views a website gets. With more pages viewed, the better it looks in Alexa and the more interested advertisers would be. This technique was also used in doorway pages where by you see a keyword stuffed page as indexed by google, but when you arrive there, you will be redirected to another page with the real content. Google has caught on with this usage and thus is frawned upon. So i would advice not to use html redirects. Use the .htaccess file to redirect a page instead.

  6. Funny_T_shirts says:

    I am setting up tracking on a link on a site I look after, I was thinking of sending the link to a page that redirects to the page off my site they are going to. I’m not bothered about the page I’m linking to getting link juice (it is just an application page) but I am worried about it getting hijacked, I don’t understand fully how this is done but I know it can be done with on pages using HTML redirects. If I put a nofollow tag on the link will this stop any chance of it being hijacked as (as far as I understand) the hijack happens by tricking the googlebots that follow the link.

  7. Jean-Luc says:

    As far as I know, this kind of URL hijacking is a problem of the past.

    If you want to make sure search engines do not see the HTML redirects, place all your redirect pages in the same directory (let’s say it is named /redir) and use robots.txt to disallow access to it:
    User-agent: *
    Disallow: /redir/

  8. Paris says:

    will be trying this html redirect to allow google analytics to track page redirection. thanks for the tip!

  9. SEO Consultant Joel says:

    Thanks for the tool. Does google pass on any relevance of page popularity after you perform a redirect? Thanks

  10. Angel Naomi says:

    Thank you! It works for me :D

  11. shineraj says:

    it works fr me. thnx!

  12. Vins says:

    Hey same here. Worked for me. Thanks.

  13. Mehedi Hasan says:

    Thanks.. Its really helpful for me :)

  14. Kresh says:

    Thanks :) It worked.. it worked !

  15. JayMan says:

    Worked perfect for me – Thank You.


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.