What are canonical URL redirects?
The same content on a website can be requested using at least 4 different addresses. For example: the home page of a website can be requested using 4 different links:
Every website should choose to serve pages using a single (canonical) URL form (www or non-www, http or https) and redirect all other URL forms to the proper canonical one using a single 301 redirect.
These redirections (http <-> https and www <-> non-www) are called canonical redirects.
Canonical redirects make sure that content is accessible only through a single (the canonical) URL.
Here's the best canonical URL redirection setup:
Example: if your canonical URL form is https://domain.com, then all other 3 variants (https://www.domain.com; http://www.domain.com; http://domain.com) should redirect to https://domain.com with a single 301 redirect.
HEADMasterSEO can take a list of URLs, generate all of their domain URL variants and check if they redirect to the correct final URL using a single 301 redirect.
It's one of the first tests I run to audit the SEO setup of a website. It's also my goto first test to assess HTTP to HTTPs migrations.
HEADMasterSEO will grade each tested input URL and its variants as a PASS or FAIL [reasons for failure].
To pass the canonical redirection test, each tested URL must:
Testing for secure cookies and HSTS response headers
Some websites that use secure https:// urls implement additional security measures - using only secure cookies and HSTS (Strict-Transport-Security response header policy).
If you check for non-secure cookies, each URL (including the URLs in a redirection sequence) will pass the test if:
If you run the check for HSTS headers, then every https:// URL must have the Strict-Transport-Security response header present. The URL will fail the test if the Strict-Transport-Security header is set using a max-age=0 parameter.
When running canonical URL redirection tests, HEADMasterSEO will present the results with an additional "Test Result" column:
Example URL redirection check results:
Test example for HSTS policy and secure cookies:
Test results can be saved and reloaded from .HEAD files.
You can export test results to CSV using the "Standard Report" CSV Export.