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”.
<META HTTP-EQUIV="refresh" CONTENT="12;URL=http://www.internetofficer.com/">
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).