Meta refresh redirect (tag) and Search Engines

The meta refresh tag or meta redirect is a tool for reloading and redirecting web pages. Meta refresh tag is easy to use, but most don’t know that innocent use of that tag may significantly lower your page rank or even get your pages banned in some of search engines.


The meta tag belongs within the <head> of your HTML document. When used to refresh the current page, the syntax looks like this:


[php]<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="600">[/php]


<meta> – This is the HTML tag. It belongs in the <head> of your HTML document.


http-equiv=”refresh” – This attribute tells the browser that this meta tag is sending an HTTP command rather than a standard meta tag. Refresh is an actual HTTP header used by the web server. It tells the server that the page is going to be reload or redirect somewhere else.


content=”600″ – This is the amount of time, in seconds, until the browser should reload the current page.


However, when using this HTML redirect code, please ensure that you don’t use it to trick the Search Engines, as this could get your website banned. It is always best to work hard and learn quality ways in which to drive traffic to your web site.


Meta refresh tags have some drawbacks


  • Meta refresh redirects have been used by spammers to fool search engines. So search engines remove those sites from their database. If you use a lot of meta refresh tags to redirect pages, the search engines may decide your site is spam and delete it from their index. It’s better to use a 301 Server Redirect instead.
  • If the redirect happens quickly (less than 2-3 seconds), readers with older browsers can’t hit the “Back” button. This is a usability problem.
  • If the redirect happens quickly and goes to a non-existent page, your readers won’t be able to hit the “Back” button. This is a usability problem that will cause people to completely leave your site.
  • Refreshing the current page can confuse people. If they didn’t request the reload, some people can get concerned about security.
Alternatives of META Refresh  or best use of Meta Refresh Tag
  • Since search engines constantly change their algorithms and spam policies, a tag that may be fine one week could drop you to the bottom of the rankings the next. It’s best to not use the META refresh attribute on pages you want indexed, but if you do, set it to at least 10 seconds.
  • Server side redirection is a better way to ensure that visitors can still find your Web pages after you make changes because there are no spamming penalties associated with it. The most common use of server site redirects is to send visitors to a custom error document when they enter an invalid URL.
  • Although it’s a safer, more elegant solution, server side redirection is more technically demanding than using META tag or JavaScript redirects. But it won’t get you banned either! You’ll need to edit your .htaccess file on your server.
  • If you’re using a web host instead of running your own server, then the server administrator will probably have to make the change for you. Contact your Web host to see if they offer that service.