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I have a specific page on my site that I want for now to be the one viewed by default when a user connect to example.com. Still, I want that specific article to maintain his "URL identity" with his proper URL on my site (like example.com/special-article). This is to avoid duplicate content with the home page and also to make sure that if in the future I change the article viewed by default (with something like example.com/another-special-article), whoever previously linked to that article will reach the correct and expected content (example.com/special-article).

What is the correct behavior in this kind of situation usually? A 301 or 302 redirect? None of the two?

Please consider also that:

  • The article could be set as default for quite a long time (weeks, even months or more)
  • The behavior that I think is optimal is that if someone connects to example.com, the URL in the address bar will change to example.com/special-article. Is this the best solution?

Update

Answer from @Stephen raised a very important point on the cacheability of redirects. In my case a cached redirect is to be avoided indeed. Documenting further I've found other questions and answers on SO on this matter, in particular I've fuound this quite interesting and helpful https://stackoverflow.com/a/12192663/1262357

From this I get that for this situation a proper redirect would be 303 or 307. Which one is the most appropriate? I've found more docs on the matter on Google Webmaster help site but still can't really tell what to pick, I think 303 but I'm not sure of the HEAD request implications. Thoughts?

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I can't think of any particular way that redirecting your home page to an article would hurt your rankings in search engines.

If you might want to change the redirect in the future, consider using a 302 redirect rather than a 301 redirect. 301 redirects are kept in browser cache. Once a person visits your home page and gets a permanent redirect, they won't know it changes until it expires from the cache which could take days or weeks.

  • You have raised a very important point. The cacheability of 301 redirects. I didn't know about it, and documenting on it I've found that other redirects code can be used to a proper message like the one I need. Check my updated question. Now I wonder wich is more correct to use? – Gruber Nov 15 '14 at 14:21

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