Learn what are redirect chains and its impact on SEO

Redirect Chains

Today we are going to learn about Redirect chains. We all have heard this word and most of us are already aware what are redirect chains but in this article, we will explore in details about this and also learn how can we solve this issue to improve our website SEO score.

Before getting into all the optimization and resolutions for redirect chains, let’s understand when a website encounter this issue.

Redirect Chains on Website

When we move a website URL from one destination to another, we add a permanent redirect code which is 301 permanent redirection. But over the time we keep on changing the destination of pages and this causes redirect chain issues on website. Let’s understand this with an example.

Let’s assume I have a blog with url https://theseoguy.in/latest-seo-tips/post-1 now I want to move this blog under specific category. Let’s say I want to move it under /seo-tricks/ I can easily do that by changing post category from /latest-seo-tips/ to /seo-tricks/ after the changes the URL would be https://theseoguy.in/seo-tricks/post-1 in order to avoid 404’s I will add permanent redirection code 301 on https://theseoguy.in/latest-seo-tips/post-1 and point it towards the new URL.

However, if in future I will make change in the URL https://theseoguy.in/seo-tricks/post-1 and add another 301 then it will create a redirect chain on my website.

That’s how redirect chain issue’s occur on website. Sometimes we do it intentionally and sometimes it happens because of lot of parameter changes on website. Let’s take an example of Redirect chains on website.

redirect chain url example

In Above Graphic, you can see when we add redirection from one URL to another URL is considered good. If we repeat the process it might be okay but when we repeat the process, it became a problem and further additions in redirections create serious issues on website.

In a recent thread on reddit John Muller (official spokesperson of Google) clarified that google will crawl up to 3 redirects. It won’t reach your fifth one and. John Recommends Less Than 5 Hops Per Redirect Chain.

It doesn’t matter. The only thing I’d watch out for is that you have less than 5 hops for URLs that are frequently crawled. With multiple hops, the main effect is that it’s a bit slower for users. Search engines just follow the redirect chain (for Google: up to 5 hops in the chain per crawl attempt).

John Muller
How can I get Googlebot to notice a 301 redirect?

Impact of Redirect Chains

As per the statement of John, you can understand that google won’t read your URLs if you have more than five hops. This might cause issues in website crawling and indexing and leave a negative impact on your SEO Rankings. Being a Digital Marketer myself, I would suggest you to keep an eye on such problems and make sure you won’t loose rankings by these little issues. You can also take help of SEO consultants to keep your website updated.

How to fix Redirect Chains issue

Now that we know what is redirect chain and how it impact your website SEO, let’s move on and understand how to fix redirect chain issues.

Step 1

Keep an eye on your website URL redirects and check if you need 301 on them or not. If you have revert back the changes in URL then remove 301.

Step 2

Review all the technical changes and see if any URL parameter change has been applied on web or not. For example if you are adding directory or subdirectory in URL which was not there earlier, then adding 301 is a good practice. But doing such changes frequently could create redirect chains on your website so keep monitoring all the parameter changes.

Step 3

Avoid automated redirection script or plugins. Sometimes we create automated scripts or plugins to add redirection on 404 pages which is good. But do monitor all the automated redirects if they are creating any redirection chain or not. If yes then avoid using such scripts or plugins.

 

Frequently Asked Questions – Redirect Chains

Is redirect bad for SEO?Redirections are not bad for website. It’s a good practice to tell search engines about your URLs new destination but changing URL location too frequently and creating number of redirects on same URL is not good.
Does Google crawl redirects?When you add redirect on URL, google reads the page location and it’s redirected location by the redirection code. If you have added a permanent redirection (301) google will read the new URL location. In a recent update John Muller clarified that you should not add upto 5 redirects. Google won’t crawl all the destinations.
What do you mean by redirect?When you move your URL from destination one to destination two, it’s your responsibility to tell search engines about new destination of URL. This process is called Redirection.
What is the purpose of URL redirect?The purpose of URL redirect is to inform search engines about new page destination and redirect user to new page instead of showing “Error 404 – Page not Found”

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I am a SEO strategist who loves to solve search engine optimization problems. Created TheSEOGuy with the AIM to provide quality information and case studies on Digital Marketing.

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