No matter what kind of website you work on, things will change at some time in the future. The pages are removed. The layout of the website can alter. Perhaps even a new (hopefully improved) domain name has been bought. Stock runs out of products. There are numerous causes for a website you’re working on to change.
But you must take into account your redirect technique before making any modifications. You don’t want someone with little experience making a mistake because it might be fairly subtle.
Ineffective redirect strategies may result in dropped rankings. Losing rankings result in reduced traffic. And as a result of both of these, income or business is lost. Poorly planned redirect strategies can instantly undo years of SEO progress.
In this post, we’ll examine what redirects are, how they operate when to use them, and lastly how to put them into practice and also how to prevent it from destroying your SEO.
What are Redirect Chains?
Redirects are used to drive visitors and search engines away from the URL they were trying to access and towards another one.
They can assist you in redirecting traffic away from URLs that you don’t want people to view, such as those that return status codes of 404 (error) or have content that has been updated or modified.
Redirects help you give visitors who are attempting to access a page that could otherwise display an error a good user experience. Users are less likely to return to your site after encountering error pages since they bounce or exit the page.
Redirects are a means to keep the ranking signals from the original page, which can assist keep the ranks steady from an SEO aspect.
Types of Redirect Chains
A redirect chain can occur for a variety of reasons, but it’s crucial to understand the most typical ones. Knowing what they are will help you locate, address, and prevent them.
- HTTP to HTTPS Chains: This is a typical problem with websites that have been online for a while or longer before HTTPS was widely used. Without many webmasters understanding it, the transition from HTTP to HTTPS forced many redirect chains on websites. Diverse iterations of their domain are frequently redirected by many websites. You may, for instance, change the URL https://website.com to https://www.website.com on your website.
- Missing Backslash: Another frequent type is when websites change URLs that don’t terminate in a backslash to ones that do. The URL https://www.website.com/page-one, for instance, reroutes to https://www.website.com/page-one/.
How do Redirect Chains Impact SEO?
Redirect chains and loops can harm your SEO in a few significant ways. Among other things, they have an impact on user experience, which Google considers when updating its algorithms.
The other aspect concerns how it impacts Google’s capacity to crawl and comprehend your website.
Loss of PageRank
Google transfers the PageRank to the new URL when you redirect one page to another. In this manner, you can update an outdated page without sacrificing its SEO value. Google’s handling of this has a limit, though. Google has stated that once you have a redirect chain, they start considering it like a 404 Page error.
That indicates that they won’t transmit any PageRank from the first page past the second. That might have disastrous effects on the ranks of any new pages you make.
Slower Page Loads
Due to its connection to user experience, page loading speed is one of the most important ranking variables that Google considers.
The more URLs that are included in a redirect chain, the longer it will take for the chain to load. Removing any chains is perhaps one of the simplest ways to enhance your site’s page-loading efficiency.
Difficult to Crawl Your Website
Redirect chains can impact Google’s web crawl in two different ways.
- The first relates to how they handle them. As previously discussed, Google has said that redirect chains are treated as 404 errors. As a result, when their crawl bots encounter a redirect chain, they treat the page as though it does not exist.
- The second problem is the cost of your crawl. Not every page on your website will always be indexed by Google’s bots. Every URL it crawls brings it one step closer to stopping its attempt to crawl your website once it reaches its limit.
- Also, it will cease crawling your website much sooner if it receives numerous error alerts, such as 404 errors or redirects chains.
If Google doesn’t crawl all of your authentic pages, it could not be aware of any fresh content that should be displayed in search results. Your website may be ranked worse overall due to the longer page loads and bad website.
Interruption in Internal Connecting
The last justification relates to your internal linking, a crucial tactic for raising your SEO. Over time, you can find yourself with a lot of chains if you add connections to other pages on your website throughout your domain.
Don’t forget that incoming links are also susceptible to this. It’s not unusual to obtain a backlink on a new domain before changing or redirecting the destination Address. Many of your internal links will gradually break if you don’t periodically check your website for chains to detect and fix.
Where you once assisted users or search crawlers in discovering fresh and relevant pages to crawl, they now encounter obstacles. There is no longer any SEO value to share.
How to Prevent Redirect Chains?
There are a few things you can do to prevent a redirect chain if it exists on your website.
Eliminate Unwanted Redirects
Always start by getting rid of any redirects that aren’t necessary. Remove any redirects you no longer require if you have any. It will be certain that only one 301 redirect transports visitors from the originating URL to the final destination URL once you remove extraneous redirects from a 301 chain. By doing this, you can shorten the length of the redirect chain and make it simpler for search engines to index your website.
Inspect your Website
Use any of the inspecting tools to inspect your website for redirect chains. The tool will crawl your website after you enter its URL, at which point it will produce a report. The report will show you if there are any redirect chains as well as a list of all the redirects on your website. Also, it indicates each redirect’s status so you can quickly determine which ones need to be addressed.
Screaming Frog is a fantastic tool to employ if you want to perform a rapid technical SEO audit of your website. It’s crucial to keep in mind that it can only crawl up to 500 pages for free.
Set up a Redirect in WordPress
Many beginner or inexperienced online marketers are unaware of how to use WordPress to establish redirects. You may configure a redirect in WordPress with the Easy Website Redirect plugin without having to change your.htaccess file. The simplicity and use of this plugin make it fantastic. The URL path and query string are also preserved by this plugin, so you don’t have to worry about losing any SEO value.
In conclusion, preventing redirect chains is essential for improving website performance, user experience, and SEO. By following the best practices we’ve outlined, such as minimizing the number of redirects, using redirects sparingly, and avoiding redirect loops, you can ensure that your website loads quickly and smoothly for your users.
Additionally, regularly checking for redirect chains and fixing any issues can help to maintain your website’s performance and prevent any negative impacts on your search engine rankings. By taking the time to optimize your website’s redirects, you can create a better experience for your users and improve your website’s overall performance.