Redirecting plays an integral role for a website and doing it incorrectly can be detrimental to your website traffic.
This is especially helpful if you want people to absorb a certain content which seems relevant now but will soon die down thereafter. Site migration and modification also requires some redirecting in order to keep the website structure as smooth as possible.
But what exactly is a redirect?
Redirecting is a way to forward one URL to another. This allows for a more organised website navigation and a more comfortable user experience as it will allow the user to get to their intended page in only a few clicks. It also reduces the burden on you as a developer because you will now only focus on developing one aspect of one page instead of getting overwhelmed with too many.
Check out more of the terms related to redirects right here: Technical SEO Guide to Redirects.
Now, let us see and examine the six redirecting mistakes that can put a huge blow to your site’s SEO potentials.
If you think redirecting everything to your homepage will work in your favour in terms of searchability and SEO, well, think again.
Google’s John Mueller stated that redirecting everything to your homepage is a surefire red flag for search crawlers. It won’t see the positive signals you had built up on the older URLs. That essentially means lost content that can’t be crawled ever again.
Avoid redirect loops by testing a new redirect link instead.
Redirect loops can appear this way: Page 1 > Page 2 > Page 3 > Page 1.
In this case, the browser will continue bringing the user back to page 1 because it is the command made by the redirect link. From a search crawler perspective, it would likely result in deindexing because the crawler has no grasp of what is going on.
That can be even worse if redirect loops take place on the website’s main landing pages, or pages that generate a lot of traffic to your website. Expect more than just lots of revenue being lost along the way if it is left unchecked.
Redirect chains can lower the user experience grades and site rankings of your website more than anything else that will be mentioned here. It draws some similarities with redirect loops but goes like this: /about is redirected to /aboutus, /aboutus is redirected to /ourcompany, and /ourcompany is redirected to /aboutourcompany.
A remedy for this is to create a single redirect from /about to /aboutourcompany to avoid cases of redirect chain nightmares.
It has to be known - case sensitivity matters when you are redirecting.
This means you can have either /about or /About if you want. It doesn’t matter though, because most people won’t remember the original case for it anyway and will most likely type it in lowercase.
One way to eliminate such case sensitivity issues is to issue the NC parameter when using the RewriteRule. Take this redirection command for case sensitivity removal for example:
Redirect 301 /about http://www.domain.com/about-new [NC]
However the user types the word ‘about’, whether it be in uppercase, lowercase, or even like ‘ABout’, the page will redirect them to ‘about-new’.
A lot of site owners often neglect the type of redirect they use, even though it actually draws much relevance in terms of performance.
Here’s the difference between the two.
The 301 redirect is permanent. The SEO value of the original page or website is kept in place. Its counterpart, the 302 redirect is often temporary. It is commonly used when the website is about to move temporarily. It is also recommended when you are trying out a new design for the website or are sending users to a new page. This also basically tells search engines it will be back soon, so it will retain its page rank and will remain indexed as well.
If the intended redirect is going to be made permanent, use a 301 redirect.
If a page will be back soon after a repair or redesign, a 302 redirect is ideal.
It is important to know that if a 302 redirect is kept for too long, Google might treat it as a permanent 301 redirect.
It is a must for you to keep track of the site’s redirects as it can be helpful for a lot of reasons.
First, it can be your reference point to see some data on website progress or if there are problems within it that need fixing.
Tracking your redirects also avoids common redirect issues which can hamper your site’s SEO and therefore revenue.
Tracking redirects also helps you oversee recent developments within your website and diagnose it should it cause problems.
Site redirects are integral to a website as it can lead to traffic generation and improvement of the user experience. So, avoiding the key mistakes mentioned above can give your website the advantage it needs to gain traffic.
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