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Meta Refresh Tag

The meta refresh tag is a device used to redirect a user to a different page. There are practical applications for using a meta refresh tag, but using them is a notorious spam technique.

Why the Meta Refresh Tag Can be Penalized

Many "spammers" would use this technique to create keyword rich content for the search engines to see, then quickly redirect the user to a different page. While there are some legitimate reasons to use redirects, the search engines have to protect themselves against this spamming technique.

The method of protection is to penalize pages that use this technique. Any page that requires a redirect is not one that you would probably want an honest high listing for. For this reason if you are using tons of meta refresh tags you may want to use a robots exclusion tag. Another way of minimizing the potential for any "spam" penalty is to set the meta refresh time delay to at least 3 - 5 seconds.

301 Redirects are Better Than the Meta Refresh Tag

Its doubtful your site will get delisted for using a refresh tag, but in all reality good site structure should limit the number of meta refresh tags which are necessary. Also, the use of a 301 redirect is a more eloquent way to refresh the page and it does not garner any ranking penalty.

What is a 301 Redirect?

A 301 redirect is a permanent 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/

Meta Refresh Tag Format:

The meta refresh tag is the area between the head tags with the following syntax <META http-equiv="refresh" content="11; URL=http://www.yoursite.com/"> (refresh content # = # of second until refresh execution, url= is the url of the page you are refreshing to)

Where to use the Meta Refresh Tag

Places where a meta refresh tag may be necessary:

  • custom 404 error page
  • "spamming"
  • sites where you don't have access to upload a .htaccess file (and thus can't use a 301 redirect)
  • there are a few, but the point is you can usually get around using them with 301 redirects or good site design and navigation structure

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Today is 06/24/24 . This file was last modified on 05/11/13