A Redirect Chain Audit is a must for old and large sites; it is a significant part of a Content Audit that you should pay attention.
As you know, redirection is the process of forwarding of users and search engines from one initially requested URL to an another. There are two main types of Redirects:
301 Moved Permanently
A 301 redirect is a first signal that your page has permanently moved to a new location and should be used in most cases when a redirect is necessary. In most cases, the 301 redirect is the best and SEO-wise method for implementing redirects on a site.
302 Found (HTTP 1.1)/Moved Temporarily (HTTP 1.0)
A 302 redirect is a temporary redirect and, in most cases, should not be used.
The most common issues with redirect chains are:
- slow PageSpeed
- poor User Experience
- lost Link Value
SEO Best Practices
The rule of the thumb is to avoid any internal 301 redirects when possible. It is always better to change an internal link to actual one than make a 301 from old URL to a new one.
Even with latest Google 3xx rules changes, redirects still cause much trouble especially for old and big sites where you can easily lose tracking changes in your linking structure and make a mess with redirects.
At Seomator we have a helpful redirect chaining check in our Crawler Report. If we detected redirect chain you could see a breakdown of all pages returning those codes and where they redirect to, then follow the URLs to check which exact URL is redirecting to that particular page:
Here you can see a typical redirect chaining mess:
- first one is redirecting from old URL to an another one, but with a wrong protocol in URL, HTTP instead of HTTPs
- next one is redirecting from HTTP to HTTPs
- and finally, it redirects to an actual working URL.
With Seomator’s Crawler Report there is no “Rocket science” at all in identifying harmful redirect chains. Redirects are easily determinable, and information represented in a convenient to understand way, and you can just pass it to your devs team to fix.
The redirects are very useful, and you cannot avoid them anyway when:
- making changes in your website’s architecture
- moving to a new domain or migrating from HTTP to HTTPS
- transferring users and search engines to another preferred domain (e.g., seomator.com or seomator.net) to avoid duplicate content bugs
- editing a page URL after publishing
- deleting the page
As long as redirects can screw up site’s search engines indexing rates, make your redirects SEO decisions carefully.
Have a good one!