Do 301 redirects impact SEO score? And if yes, what factors determine if it’s good or bad for the ranking authority? Today we are going to discuss all this and much more.
Having to remove, combine and change page URLs is one of the inevitable aspects of owning a website. In this manner, visitors to a website are not lost in the process or unable to reach the destination they intended. In addition, 301 redirects are an integral part of search engine optimization.
Without any further ado, let us dive right in.
What is a 301 redirect?
Before we know about the impact, we must understand what 301 redirect means. Ever noticed when you are trying to type in a specific URL, but somehow end up on a different webpage?
This is not due to any mistake done by either your internet browser or the website itself. Instead, it is designed to provide you with the content you are looking for, but in a new location.
Most common uses cases of 301 redirects
In a website’s lifetime, there are several reasons and cases where the website owner must implement 301 redirects. Here are some of the most common cases that will help understand the scenarios:
- The website is going from HTTP to HTTPS for the extra layer of security.
- You have changed your domain name, and users visiting your old domain need to be directed to the new website.
- The 301 redirect can redirect the user to a new web page that can substitute the deleted one.
- URL slug optimization of the existing pages.
- You move subdomains such as https://blog.sample.com into a subfolder: https://sample.com/blog.
- Consolidation of pages that is on the same topic.
Do 301 Redirects Impact SEO?
Until a few years ago, using a 301 redirect can significantly harm the SEO score of your webpage. The ranking authority of the website took a big hit, making it hard to properly maintain the website.
There had been many controversies regarding this topic, but no exact data is there to clear the fog out. As google never discloses its ranking algorithm to the users, it is surely difficult to find something solid.
During that time, the controversies were getting bigger every single day. It went on to a point where google intentionally updated their algorithm to make sure 301 redirects do not negatively impact SEO score anymore.
What impact do other redirects have on SEO?
There are other redirect codes you can use besides 301. Browsers and search engines respond differently to other HTTP redirect codes. Each can be useful for improving your site’s search engine ranking.
Redirect 302 “Found”. Search engines understand this type of redirect as a temporary move. Due to the temporary nature of the new URL, Google won’t consider it “canonical”. 307 “Moved Temporarily” redirection. Here is another kind of temporary redirection. There are a few advantages over 302. 308 “permanent” redirection. Similar to 301 redirects, 308 redirects also offer a few technical advantages over 301 redirects. Still, 301 redirects remain a permanent redirection standard.
Temporary redirects may pass some link information from an SEO perspective. Search engines are informed that the new URL is not canonical. Temporary redirects can be used to test your site. The 301 does not help with search engine optimization. In addition to preventing the search engine from indexing the target page, the redirect is temporary also keeps the primary URL as the one that appears in results.
Use 301 Redirects to Boost Your SEO
301 redirects no longer negatively impact SEO. In the world of SEO, this means that as long as there are no direct negatives, there will be some benefit hidden somewhere. In fact, you can use 301s to improve your website’s ranking. The following tips will help you boost your site’s SEO using 301 redirects.
Consolidate posts with poor performance
Those posts that perform well on your blog will likely stand out as your blog grows. The more traffic they bring, the better in terms of rankings, and the more valuable they are. Most posts, however, attract only modest traffic. Perhaps your optimization is poor or your readers just aren’t interested.
You can combine several posts with the same topic into a single, long-form article that can compete with anything from your competitors. It basically involves combining the Skyscraper method with 301 redirects. Imagine this as adding a few new floors to an already impressive building.
If you have an extensive post library, consolidating content is an effective SEO move. Over time, you’re bound to publish articles on overlapping topics as your catalog grows. You can maximize the potential of your content by using 301 redirects. As a result, duplicate content and keyword cannibalization issues are avoided.
Pages with 404 errors should be redirected to related content
In the event that you need to delete a page or post in WordPress, you should consider what happens to its traffic. A simple removal of those pages will result in 404 errors when users try to access them. Users cannot access them since they no longer exist.
A page can sometimes be safely deleted and let go. In this case, you can use a 410 header to tell browsers and search engines that the page has disappeared and is not returning.
404 pages can be redirected to another URL as an alternative. You can use this method if your content has relevance to the reader. Consider, for example, that you have a page dedicated to showing where your business is located. The 301 redirect will help you pass on domain authority or PageRank if you delete it and replace it with information on the “About Us” or “Contact Us” pages. These pages will fulfill the users’ original search intent.
Avoid these mistakes
However, redirecting 404s to unrelated content isn’t a good idea. You may be penalized by search engines if they view this as gaming the system.
It has become clear over time that 301 redirects do not pass all PageRank from one page to the next, but they do not take away any authority either. Using a 301 Redirect when the pages are related to one another is better than displaying a 404 error. If you really want to never experience a 404, then you can use a 301 redirect to direct any 404s back to your homepage.
As a result, 301 redirects can instead be used to improve the SEO of your website. A 404 error on your webpage will result in the URL losing its ranking for that particular keyword and eventually being removed from Google’s index.
On the other hand, bots can now access the redirected page. The content of the page is then read to determine its relevance to the keyword of the already ranked page.
Using this knowledge, you can optimize your website using redirects without having to worry about negatively impacting your SEO anymore.
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