How to Stop Redirect Chains from Hurting Your SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of making your website easier to be discovered, crawled, and ranked for search engines. The better the search engine optimization of your website, the greater the likelihoods of your website being found by potential customers.
However, as you improve your website SEO with relevant content, it is important to take note of redirect chains. Redirect chains are connected Internet issues that causes difficulties for search engine crawlers. They also lead to bad user experience and can potentially harm your page ranking.
As you keep reading you will learn what a redirect chain is and why it is potentially problematic.
What A Redirect Chain Is.
A redirect chain occurs when there are multiple redirects between the original URL a user clicks and the final destination URL.
The Common Types of Redirects: 301 And 302.
301 redirects occur when the destination page permanently links to a new URL and 302 redirects point to temporary pages in the process of creating new content or building websites.
For instance, think about receiving a backlink from a trustworthy website that points users to a page on your website, called URL A. If a user clicks on the link and are directed to URL A, it is regarded to be a single 301 redirect.
In the case of an update of the content on URL A, you need to update the content with URL B, then set URL A to redirect users to the new page. This can cause a redirect chain — your backlink directing to URL A which redirect to URL B.
Reasons for Redirects.
Mostly, redirect chains are unintended, and they usually occur for the following reasons:
1. Content Updates.
While it is difficult to change backlinks on the other side, you may need to get in touch with the website owner, and ask them to modify the link. It is faster to just redirect the original backlink to a new URL. As websites are being improved and content updated, the number of steps between the original click and final destination can increase significantly.
2. URL Details.
Redirect chains can also happen when businesses quickly scale up their websites and small problems with URL details turn into bigger redirect problems. For example, study the URL:
Seeing as it is without the https; a required protocol in order secure website browsing, you then update the URL to:
This in turn creates a redirect, but the other issue is that there is no slash after “blog”. So you then adjust the URL again.
You went from one to three redirects with only slight changes. Joined with new content generation and applied to your website at scale, it is easy to see how redirects can speedily get out of control.
Negative Impact Redirect Chains Does to SEO.
Large redirect chains can substantially impact your SEO for the following reasons:
1. Loss of Link Juice.
The “boost” your website gets from trustworthy backlinks is often referred to “link juice”. As you get more link juice from other reputable websites, your search rankings will be improved.
With simply one redirect from a backlink to your website, you get 100% of the link juice. When you add a 301 redirect, your link juice will be reduced to about 85%. As you add another redirect, your link juice will reduce from 85% to 72%. The more redirect links, the less link juice you will get.
2. Decreased Website Performance.
The longer the redirect chain, the longer it will take browsers to get to your destination page; as browsers will need to work their way through to the destination page link after link.
Website performance is a vital factor in improving your SEO. The more redirects you get will reduce your website ranking.
3. Crawling Troubles.
The more your redirect chains, the longer it will take for search engines to crawl your website. Search engine bots can only crawl to a large extent before quitting. The process is called “crawl budget”. Smaller websites do not need to worry about search spiders using up their whole budget before getting to the end of their website, unless redirects start to increase.
How to Get Rid of a Redirect Chain.
Once you have discovered redirect chains on your website, getting rid of them is quite simple. All you need to do is simply change the redirect link of the initial destination page to the final URL instead of pointing it to another redirect. This means that you will need to change the redirect of URL A to URL C instead of URL B — in sequence, avoiding the middle step and making sure your website does not lose any link juice or SEO ranking. In the case of URL B still being backlinked by other websites, you need to leave its redirect to URL C intact. If it only present itself as a bridge between the older URL A and the newer URL C, then it is worth getting rid of the redirects completely and deleting or archiving the page.
Take note: Every 301 redirect after the original jump costs your website approximately 15% of potential link juice. We advise you cut down on redirects wherever possible in order to improve your SEO. If you want to learn more about SEO, we recommend you take a look at the Ultimate WordPress SEO Guide for Startups.