Redirect Chains: Issues that SEO Performers Should Avoid
Performing SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) involves updating your website with quality content which is vital to website rankings. If your website content is outdated or incorrect, your SEO ranking on Google’s first page can be affected.
Moreover, if the registered domain name no longer meets users’ needs, a solution would be to create a new URL and replace the original domain to suit your visitors’ usage behaviour better. This is the cross-domain redirect technique of moving websites without affecting the SEO rankings.
Although redirecting is a great cross-domain technique to show Google that your new URL is the existing website, you must proceed cautiously. SEO performers should be careful about redirect chains, a domain transfer from erroneous redirects, as this issue can be so harmful that it can cause your website ranking to drop suddenly.
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What Is a Redirect?
To understand redirect chains, let’s learn about the redirect technique first. Redirect is a technique used to direct a user from one URL on one website to another URL on another website. To do this, Google must be made to understand that there is a new location for an existing URL that has been redirected.
There are several reasons why website developers need to use this technique to move website A to B without creating a new website:
- They want to change a new website or domain name, but the original website already ranked.
- They want to just change the URL name as the original website doesn’t have a good SEO ranking yet.
- They want to redirect the URL as the original website has been deleted, so when users click on the original URL, they see “Error 404 Page Not Found” and are unable to access the page.
This technique, therefore, helps redirect the URL while still sustaining the SEO ranking of the existing website. More importantly, it navigates users to the new website URL even though they searched with the original URL.
Why Does Redirecting Matter to SEO?
Redirecting is a process done to avoid bad UX or user experience that happens when users try to access your website landing page and an error occurs, which will cause a rise in bounce rate or the rate of users who land on a page and then leave. In addition, if a website frequently shows “404 Not Found,” the Googlebot will undervalue the quality of the website, and those backlinks you worked so hard to gain will all be in vain.
All of these won’t only affect SEO rankings but, more importantly, give customers a negative impression of your website, and dissuade them from purchasing your product or service. If they have a bad user experience, your target group is more likely to go to your competitor instead, affecting your bottom line.
Redirect Chains: Redirect Issues SEO Performers Should Avoid!
What are redirect chains? How do they become a big issue to avoid when redirecting?
Redirect chains, also known as redirect loops, involve using a redirect technique to transfer a website URL from A to B, and redirect again from B to C. This repeated redirection may cause problems, resulting in a drop in website rankings on Google’s first page.
Redirect chains are usually found when website A is restructured to website B and then again from website B to website C. The redirect loop occurs when the restructuring proceeds to website C but then moves back to website A. Back-and-forth redirects like this may prevent the new destination URL from fully retrieving the content from the original source, and essential parts such as internal links or keywords may be missed. This results in a poor user experience. Google takes this to indicate poor quality and that the website should be ranked lower.
How Can Redirect Chains Cause a Dramatic Drop in SEO Rankings?
Redirect chains affect SEO ranking scores because they slow down the website speed such that Googlebot can’t access and fully measure the website quality. It also hinders information linking essential to every website page, making it hard to optimise the website. Hence, the more redirect chains occur, the more significant negative impact they have on website performance, such as:
Slower website speed
Redirecting a URL to another URL leads to longer access time than if there were no redirects. Redirecting URLs back and forth in a chain will cause the website even more time to process. This leads to even higher page load time, resulting in a higher bounce rate and affecting SEO rankings.
Googlebot can’t gather sufficient data to evaluate the rankings
Issues caused by redirect chains also affect Googlebots’ ability to collect data to assess website rankings completely. Generally, Googlebot has limited website access and will stop crawling the redirect in the 3rd or 4th link. When there are too many redirects, Googlebot may not be able to gather the best information from the destination URL, affecting the ranking data quality. This can result in website ranking drops.
The destination URL is of poorer quality than the original URL
A single website redirect may allow you to sustain the original website quality, with internal links and backlinks completely transferred to the destination website. This will enable Google to see that your new URL is an existing website with the same quality, so SEO rankings on Google’s first page won’t be affected.
However, too many redirects that become redirect chains can affect the destination website’s SEO quality. The more multiple redirects, the higher chances the destination website will be reduced in quality, and Google will downrank the website.
When redirecting websites, website developers must take careful steps to inform visitors of the original website’s new domain name and effectively lead them to the new URL. The destination website should maintain the same structure for user convenience and redirecting ease. Avoid creating redirect chains or multiple redirects, as they will become a major cause of drops in SEO ranking from Google’s first page.
For website owners who want to redirect to a new site without affecting their SEO rankings, the experts at Primal Digital Agency are ready to assist you in planning and executing flawlessly. Contact us for a free consultation today!