URL redirects deliver specific values for a variety of business groups. Below we’ll look at six typical scenarios that require URL redirects, and in doing so will illustrate how they can be of use to everyone from enterprise IT to marketing teams and agencies. There are many technical and pragmatic uses for URL redirects to guide your audience to the appropriate web content. Below are the most common applications.
Website Domain/Hostname Migrations
Website domain/hostname migrations are typically assigned to IT teams. They’re responsible for the technical work associated with a rebranding, for example, where a company goes through a name change and all the existing pages on their website or associated microsites need to be changed accordingly.
URL redirects help make the move from one domain or subdomain name to another simple and easy.
As we’ve mentioned previously, this delivers value for users to find the content they’re looking for, or have bookmarked, in your new domain without having to hunt around for it or landing on a 404 page. It also helps you manage your sites and content from an SEO perspective as your link equity will be transferred from the old domain to the new one.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Any merger or acquisition brings with it enormous volumes of legal, financial, operational and other logistical details. As part of all that, there’s often a need to take two or more companies (and all their digital properties) and combine them into a single website or digital identity, often under significant time pressure.
URL redirects can be very useful here. They can help a company meet a tight closing deadline by redirecting content from an acquired company to the acquiring company. It’s a simple and quick process that keeps IT teams focused on their most critical tasks rather than on domains
A good URL redirect service can also help a company make decisions about infrastructure and how to consolidate/redirect the content based on usage data. Ideally a good solution can also help manage SSL certificates as part of the overall process. These SSL certificates authenticate the identity of a website and ensure an encrypted communication between a user and the site itself. They’re critical for privacy, building user trust and extremely beneficial for SEO.
URL redirects are instrumental in the successful execution of offline marketing campaigns.
Consider the two example URLs below:
Which would you rather put on a billboard if you were the head of an enterprise marketing team or agency launching a campaign?
The second link is punchier and far easier to remember for consumers. It’s a marketing asset, not a liability and once consumers type the address into their phone or computer, a URL redirect can send them to the longer web address or something entirely different. It makes the execution of the campaign easier and ultimately more successful.
It also provides useful analytics. By using a series of branded links and URL redirects, marketing teams can measure the individual pieces of an offline campaign through the traffic they each create online. Similarly, companies can also change an existing target URL as new marketing initiatives arise, thereby driving more and repeatable value out of the same marketing asset.
For embedded or hard-to-change links, URL redirects provide a useful and easy way to change the link target without expensive and time-consuming redeployments.
IT teams often find this useful because, for example, their marketing teams can make changes without having to engage IT at all. It protects IT team resources from getting pulled away into lower-priority work while still ensuring the marketing team can get things done quickly and easily.
Protect Intellectual Property
Here’s a use case that both IT and brand-focused areas of the business will appreciate.
By setting up redirects that send alternative versions of your company name on top level domains to the correct location, you can protect your brand and your intellectual property against malicious cybersquatters.
You can also help out well-intentioned users who might just make mistakes typing in the URL. It’s often effective to have a few of the most commonly misspelled URLs set up with redirects right at the launch of a new company.
Phishing is also nearly always done via domains/hostnames that look very similar to the actual site URLs. By buying those domains, you can potentially reduce phishing.
For all these reasons, these redirects are of benefit to both large enterprises looking for risk management and marketing teams looking to protect their brand.
Build Brand Equity
Here’s another way URL redirects can build brand equity while at the same time saving time, money and hassle for IT, particularly in enterprise environments.
By enabling marketing, sales or other teams across the company to set up, manage and change their own branded links, the IT team is free to focus on more pressing issues while other functional groups can move their work forward without delay.
This is easier to do with a URL redirection service that offers a commercial off-the-shelf product than if it is required to build something themselves.
Continue your URL redirection education with our free book: The Complete Guide to URL Redirection Management.