How Do Redirects Affect SEO? – A Detailed SEO Guide
How Do Redirects Affect SEO? – A Detailed SEO Guide :
It’s generally ideal to examine all the risks involved in overhauling your website content before doing so. Of course, you want to learn about the business-hurting consequences of moving to a new domain, changing your website structure or taking your customers to a new page. Perhaps, your web developer mentioned redirects as the ultimate solution and you want to know how redirects affect SEO.
Firstly, not all redirects have the potential of hurting your website SEO and not all web content maintenances would require you to implement redirects.
Redirects are very essential in the operational procedures of almost any cooperate website, especially in the eCommerce industry. For instance, we mostly use (HTTP 303) redirects while setting up payment systems, and essentially in device- or geo-targeting. These redirects are not in any way going to hurt your website SEO, provided they don’t generate any functional bugs. However, they are mostly not the redirects most of us worry about– the 301 and 302 redirects.
This post will help you to understand how redirects may affect Search engine optimization and when you would need redirects. Let’s first look at the meaning of redirects.
Also Read – What are WordPress Web Design Trends For 2020?
What are redirects? and How Do Redirects Affect SEO?
Redirects are also known as URL redirection or URL forwarding. They refer to the automatic process of sending a user to a different URL when they request for a URL. In other words, URL redirection is a technique for making a single page available under multiple URLs.
Redirects may be permanent or temporary, depending on the final HTTP status of the requested URL. However, they are, at large, to provide an alternative destination in place of the users’ requested URL.
It’s crucial to clearly understand the different types of redirects and when to use them before implementing any on your website, mostly the “SEO-related” redirects. I call them SEO-related simply because they are basically the redirects you may want to implement for an existing Google indexed page that may have been moved or no longer available. Hence, this article will be more concerned about the 301 (permanent) and 302 (temporary) redirects, focusing more on how they affect your website SEO.
Are 301 redirects more SEO-friendly?
The primary effect of URL redirection is that users and search engine bots would be taken to a different page (destination URL) each time they request for the old URL you’re directing away from. But this would have a different impact in the long run for different HTTP status codes: permanent or temporarily redirection.
Your option is the 301 redirects if you are permanently redirecting a URL to a new destination, certifying that the change is going to be permanent; there won’t be a need to keep the former URL. 301 redirects are not advisable if the move is temporary. You should use the 302 redirects to notify search engine crawlers that the change is only temporary; they should retain the former URL since it would come back online after a while.
The 302 redirects may be nice for the specific temporary need but there are arguments that temporary redirects are unadvisable in decent SEO practices. This is because 302 redirects instruct search engine crawlers to retain the old URL, thereby creating a duplicate content at the crawlers’ database since they are keeping the destination and requested URLs. The 301 redirects supposedly have more SEO benefits because it automatically instructs search engine bots to crown the new link all the existing page authorities/properties and to permanently delete the abandoned URL.
When do you need 301 redirects?
- Moving to a new domain
- When you’re
- There’s a broken URL
- You’re fixing your website structure by deleting or moving a page
- Changing your website’s CMS platform
- Merging two or more websites
- You want to direct all your clients to a different website
- You’re A/B testing a new website’s design or functionality
Theoretically, redirects should transfer all SEO values of the original URL to the new or destination URL. Google webmaster Garry Illyes announced in 2016 that the use of 30x redirects no longer affect page ranking. In other words, no form of penalty is attached to redirects, which suggests no redirects impact on SEO. But many web content analysts struggle to understand it this way due to several cases of ranking lost after the change of URL with 301 redirects.
4 Ways Redirects May Affect SEO –
Several factors could cause 301 redirects implementation to affect your SEO and they include but not limited to the following –
New page design and structure –
There is no guarantee that the new page design and structure you are planning moving over to is more SEO-friendly than your current website. This must be considered in any plan to implement redirects. Google will not rank the new URL destination based on your previous page design and structure. It could be ideal to maintain your previous site structure if you are changing your website CMS or planning to move over to an entirely new domain. While you are to maintain all page ranking values, redirecting to a new site structure and design requires Google to review your page SEO properties. This will impact on your SEO negatively if the new page design and structure are below Google SEO standards.
Poor SEO practices on detour page –
Similar to the page design and structure, redirects may affect your SEO value negatively if the content SEO has been compromised. It’s advisable to improve your web content each time you’re implementing a 301 redirect. But while doing so, chances of ruining the page ranking should not be neglected. It would be difficult to retain your page ranking without considering SEO elements like Meta tags, Meta descriptions, keywords, picture quality, and tags, etc. on the destination URL.
Increased Competition –
Google re-evaluates your page ranking from time to time using varying algorithms. This is why some pages with low ranking would rank better after a few months, even without any intervention like editing their content. Implementing redirects could be indirectly asking Google to quickly review your ranking before the algorithm schedule. This could negatively impact your SEO value if your competitors have performed better lately in providing quality content.
Bad implementation –
A major blow to SEO could come from poorly implemented redirects. Human errors include some of the factors to consider while implementing and managing redirects. This is why more publishers are beginning to use a redirect manager to cut off potential errors from managing redirects manually.
Poor redirects management could result in a redirect chain or redirect loop, which gravely affects the SEO of any website. Proper implementation and management of redirects are necessary to circumvent any negative impacts on your website SEO.
URL redirection is an essential part of successfully running a website. It’s only a matter of time before anyone would find redirects useful if they currently have no need for it. And the above-mentioned points on how redirects affect SEO could be useful to anyone. However, retaining all SEO values of a redirected page requires the destination URL to have a faster design, better structure, updated content, and improved SEO.
URL forwarding and management are easier and error-free when you use any reliable plugin for managing redirects. You are advised to cross-check all redirects for errors after they’re implemented. Google Search Console is one of the most efficient tools for checking redirect issues and errors.
Please let us know about your website SEO after implementing redirects, and don’t forget to check another amazing plugin from WebFactory, WP Reset.