Redirection is the process of forwarding one URL to another URL. This happens when a user or search engine lands on a page that no longer exists due to a domain change or reorganization of the site. 301 redirects are most common and recommended for SEO. There are also 302 redirects and meta refreshes.
It is common practice to redirect one URL to a different URL, but there are practices you must follow so that you do not negatively impact your SEO. In this post, I’m going to share some of the best ways that you can use redirection without hurting your site.
Use spreadsheets to keep track of your URLs
Whether you’re redirecting 10 pages or 100 pages, it’s important to keep them organized. The best way to do this is with a simple spreadsheet. List out your current URLs alongside the new URLs. As you put together this spreadsheet, you can visualize your website’s structure and filter out unwanted pages.
Keep all redirects relevant to the user experience
Redirects sometimes get a bad rap, but they are there to improve the user experience. Rather than reaching a dead end, the user is brought to another URL where they can continue their journey. When implementing a redirect, be sure that it’s going to the most relevant page. If it’s not relevant, you have a higher chance of bounce rates and lost traffic.
Pay attention to 404 pages
404 error pages are frustrating for users and webmasters. Do not let these pages go unnoticed, otherwise they can hurt your SEO. Use Google’s Search Console to identify 404 errors. You can find them under Crawl errors. Here’s a great article from Lifewire that outlines simple steps on how to fix a 404 page.
Make changes permanent
When redirecting a URL to a new page, make the change permanent. If you don’t, it’s more difficult for the bots to crawl your web site and index your pages. Redirect chains can also have a negative impact on speed, slowing down your site and hurting the user experience. In other words, make sure that your 301 redirects point to a static page.
How many redirects can you have on your site?
Google does not penalize sites that use 301 redirects. In fact, you can have as many redirects as you want. That said, too many redirects slow down your site’s speed because it puts unnecessary load on the server. This is why it’s a good idea to limit your redirects.
Magna Technology has a team of website development professionals who can get your site running faster and smoother than ever. Contact us today if you are concerned about redirects.