Oct
2
2008

Making URL Redirects 508 Compliant “Accessible”

So as you may well know I’ve been looking for an answer to the question on “How to Make URL Redirects 508 Compliant”. The odd thing about it was that the answer was staring me right in the face to begin with.

To being with we first need to understand the 508 Compliancy priority 2 that we are actually discussing as the 508 Compliancy guide is really big and this is just one small part. This ironically also holds the key to our answer.

“7.5 Until user agents provide the ability to stop auto-redirect, do not use markup to redirect pages automatically. Instead, configure the server to perform redirects. ~www.w3.gov”


In short the above states that URL Redirects cannot be done by the visitor’s browser. That means that the HTML Meta Refresh & JavaScript options are out (don’t use them). However, it does say that you are permitted to use Server Level functions to perform URL Redirects. That leaves us with two options:

.htaccess redirects which can be done like so:

Redirect /OldDir/old.php http://site.com/NewDir/new.php
Redirect /link http://www.MerchantDomain.com/affil.cgi?12345

Pre-Executed Server Pages (ASP or PHP):

<?php
header(“HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently”);
header(“Location: http://http://site.com/NewDir/new.php”);
?>

The last important thing to make sure is that your Redirects are giving back the right HTTP Request responses (aka the 404, 301 or 302 response). This will make all the difference in getting search engines to update your links.

If you’d like to see what Response Codes your links are giving out then I’d suggest using this Check Server Headers Tool by SeoConsultants.com. Keeping the number of responses low is always recommended; get to the page in one shoot don’t redirect to a redirect.

So after the long and exhausting research we now have an answer. Yes, URL Redirects are able to be 508 Compliant and yours probably already are.

  • Paul Prewitt

    Kyle brought up a good point that the IIS server on windows can handle this as well. Sorry but I’m the old fashioned Apache and .htaccess developer.Again, if you want to see what responses are coming use the http://www.seoconsultants.com/tools/headers.asp tool and it will show you the response codes.

  • http://www.paulprewitt.com Paul Prewitt

    Kyle brought up a good point that the IIS server on windows can handle this as well. Sorry but I’m the old fashioned Apache and .htaccess developer.Again, if you want to see what responses are coming use the http://www.seoconsultants.com/tools/headers.asp tool and it will show you the response codes.

  • http://www.paulprewitt.com Paul Prewitt

    Kyle brought up a good point that the IIS server on windows can handle this as well. Sorry but I’m the old fashioned Apache and .htaccess developer.

    Again, if you want to see what responses are coming use the http://www.seoconsultants.com/tools/headers.asp tool and it will show you the response codes.

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