Why use the Meta Refresh Tag?
Many people use meta refresh tags to tell the search engines that their pages moved. It is not the most elequent way to do so though.
What does the Meta Refresh Tag Look like?
<meta HTTP-EQUIV="refresh" CONTENT="0;URL=http://www.redirectsite.com/">
in the head of your page copy. The number is a measure of time to redirect the browser to the new location (I believe in milliseconds.)
What is the problem with using a Meta Refresh Tag?
One of the bigger problems with this is that it is a common spam technique. Some people suggest setting the meta refresh to at least 5 seconds to avoid any ranking penalty.
In addition Google will show the URL of the original page in the search results if it has a higher PageRank than the location of the destination page. Last month they discussed Google's problems with the meta-refresh tag at WMW.
What is a 301 Redirect?
A 301 redirect is a perminant change of location code. It tells a search engine spider that a page or website has moved.
What does a 301 Redirect look like?
Redirect permanent / http://www.newurl.com/cool/
The 301 redirect code goes inside a .htaccess file either at the root level or in a local level. You can also use a 301 redirect to move just a single page.
Redirect permanent /oldpage.htm http://www.newurl.com/cool/
Other 301 redirect info
Yahoo! Slurp has been having trouble resolving 301 redirects for a while now, but when they work correctly they garner no penalty and all the link popularity is parsed through to the new location.
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