Why eliminating redirect chains on your business website can improve your Google ranking
Redirect chains are a problem for many websites, especially those that have been around for numerous years, slowing page load speeds and hurting search engine optimisation (SEO) efforts.
There are many types of redirects available to send internet users and search engine robots to a different URL from the one originally requested, with 301 redirects – which flag that content has been permanently moved – recommended for SEO best practice.
Such redirects are important to avoid creating a bad user experience for site visitors who click on links to disused URLs, which often occur in website redesigns, edits or restructuring. If you eliminate or change the location of content without adding a 301 redirect, you’ll either create orphan pages that present outdated, unmaintained content – potentially costing your sales or leads – or leave users frustrated by “page not found” (404) server errors.
It’s widely accepted that a single 301 redirect passes between 90% and 99% of link equity to the redirected page, minimising any impact on its ranking power in organic searches.
However, within a redirect chain, the page authority continues to be reduced by up to 10%. With page load time also increasing, your website’s overall quality score is decreased and your organic search results suffer.
What are redirect chains and how do they occur?
A redirect chain is a series of redirects that go from one URL to another, forcing site users – and search engines – to wait until there are no more redirects to step through.
Examples of how a redirect chain can occur inadvertently include:
- URL A being redirected to URL B, then at a later time URL B being redirected to URL C. For example, https://www.yourdomain.com.au/blog being redirected to https://www.yourdomain.com.au/news, then a year or so later https://www.yourdomain.com.au/news being redirected to https://www.yourdomain.com.au/knowledge-vault
- Site-wide redirects involving changes from non-www to www and later from http to https upon the installation of an SSL certificate. For example, http://yourdomain.com.au being redirected to http://www.yourdomain.com.au, then several months down the track http://www.yourdomain.com.au being redirected to https://www.yourdomain.com.au
Removing redirect chains from your website
With link equity or page authority reducing and page load times increasing with each redirect in a chain, the impact on the quality score given to your site by the likes of Google is amplified and your organic search rankings can plummet – even for priority keywords.
Here at Kook we utilise a highly-reputed tool to crawl our SEO clients’ websites and flag technical issues such as redirect chains.
Once a redirect chain is identified on your website, action can be taken to update your 301 redirects to remove the unnecessary steps.
Doing so helps ensure your website ranks higher on Google and other search engines, which in turn will deliver you more traffic.