Url Redirects — Save Or Ruin Your SEO Efforts

SEOs will tell you about the power of url redirects. But what many won’t even bother to educate you on is the ruin that can befall you if you get it wrong. In an article published by Cyrus Shepard at Moz.com, he shows you things you should do and those to avoid. Here are excerpts…

1. A 301 (or permanent redirect) is treated as a change of address for your web property and passes on as much as 85% of the original link juice or equity. In the case of a 302 (Temporary redirect) your visitors are redirected but link equity isn’t passed on.

2. Semantic relevance increases the value of link equity passed on. For example, redirecting a page about “Labrado” to another page on “Labrado” will give you the highest amount of link juice. Redirecting that page to another on “dogs” will pass on much of the original link juice but NOT as much as a page that has the same level of relevance.

However, redirecting such a page to an unrelated page on “taco” won’t do you much good (according to Cyrus). Therefore, as much as possible, ensure that you redirect to pages that have as much semantic relevance to the original page as possible.

3. Avoid redirecting many pages to the same url (for example, the home page). This could prove costly as Google might simply treat all those redirected pages as soft 404’s. This means that your old urls won’t pass on link juice — A total loss of your link equity. Furthermore, Google might just de-index all those redirected urls.

The right approach is to redirect urls to different pages (And don’t forget semantic relevance).

4. Do bear in mind that as 301s pass on link equity when done right, they’ll also pass on bad reputation. That is, if you redirect a url with questionable backlinks, you inherit the poison from such backlinks as everything is redirected to your page.

Important Note: This wasn’t a problem until the Penguin Update. Now bad backlinks can really poison your SEO efforts so take note of this as you redirect urls.

Do you agree with Cyrus? Do you have any tip you can share with us with respect to redirects? Please, leave a comment.


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