Last Updated in August 2021 by Lukasz Zelezny
In this blogpost
Redirects are necessary and should not harm SEO rankings since the rankings are essential for luring users to your site. Changing URL’s is necessary, particularly if you are selling something to your users since it is the only way you will diversify your catalogue. Therefore, you need to redirect your URL with caution, eliminating any mistakes that could cause you to lose what you have laboured for in a long time. Consequently, as much as you need to redirect your URL, you must observe the risk of losing your traffic should the URL be poorly redirected. Since it is healthy for your site, however, it depends on whether it is done properly.
What Does Redirecting a URL mean?
Redirecting means providing a new page with a new URL, which is the process of forwarding a URL to another URL. If precisely done, it goes unnoticed even to the users and would not affect the rankings either. Thus, redirects are necessary for URL’s; however, they bring negative results if wrongly implemented.
As a result, causing a decline in the page rankings and loss of organic traffic. Redirects are bound to take search engines and users to another URL other than their requested one. Here are the commonly used main redirects: 307,303, 302, 301, Meta refresh, and 401 and 402 errors.
How to Redirect a URL?
Redirecting a URL is quite simple; you only need to get the right PHP code, copy it, and paste it to the correct folder at your preferred hosting location. The process will use a 301 redirect and send the user to a new URL, though they were initially in the previous URL.
The simple process saves you money and time since you would be required to go to every link in the previous site and change it to the new site without the redirects. That would be a tedious and daunting task, probably expensive too. Assuming you had printed forms of advertising like business cards or outdated websites and needs to be upgraded.
Does Redirecting an SEO Affect URL?
- The 303 redirect does not affect SEO in any way; it does not send links or page authority to the redirected URL, thus never cacheable by any search engines. As such, it is always advisable to maintain the link to preserve rankings and the keyword associated with the search index.
- Since search indexes identify pages by using unique URL’s, hence if the URL changes, the search indexes find it difficult to recognize the canonical location of the page’s content. According to Google, the overall SEO effect between the 302 and 301 redirects is minimal. Such affects the possibility of google sending the link authority among them, thus minimizing the required impact on SEO.
- The 307 redirects are used when there is a need for a temporary redirect, and the server is 1.1 compatible. It is mostly used during site maintenance since using it in regular cases could create errors. Because using the 307 redirect does not give you the certainty that the search engine has identified pages as compatible.
- Meta refresh is only used on-page, not server levels, and are slow with regard to SEO. They normally occur as boxes that indicate to you that you will be redirected in a certain period. Typically they are known to annoying users; hence many visitors tend to avoid them.
- The 401 error is displayed when content is wrongly indexed, thus telling the search engine not to revisit the page since it does not exist any longer. Such occurs if the products or services you used to offer no longer exist. It helps since it ensures that the page will no longer pop up in search results.
- Finally, when the 404 message pops up, it indicates that the site no longer exists on the server. Similarly, the message is displayed if the page is improperly redirected. To avoid losing traffic, you should ensure that your site has a customized 404 error that sends the user back to your site without leaving them to the dead end.
Therefore website developers should observe these concepts to avoid unnecessary mistakes that could lead to applying the redirects incorrectly. Correspondingly, leading to a decline in site rankings and overall performance of the website. Since, such might instigate the loss of traffic, which is a key factor towards the site’s performance.
How to Keep Your Current SEO Rankings While Redirecting?
It is critical always to maintain your SEO ranking while redirecting since the value of your pages will compel users to follow you exceedingly. Thus the 301 is the best strategy to use if you wish to preserve the page rankings since it notifies the bots that the page is permanently moved.
It is also paramount to note that the bots take considerable time to identify the 301 and credit the current page with the previous page rankings. The process might take longer if crawlers do not often visit the site.
Are Redirects Bad for SEO?
Redirects are not bad for SEO; however, it depends on the way you implement them. If redirects are correctly applied, they can help improve the site’s overall performance and increase SEO ranking. If they are improperly implemented, they can cause a loss of traffic and a decline in page ranking.
In conclusion, redirects are the only way to get your site users from the old URL to the new URL. However, the process has to be properly done to avoid mistakes that could cause traffic loss. Additionally, it is simple to redirect as it only needs you to copy-paste the right PHP code to the right hosting location. The process saves you money and time since you would be required to go to every link in the previous site and change it to the new site without the redirects. Thus redirecting is a positive move that does not harm SEO ranking and is crucial for improving overall website performance.