Using 301 redirects may affect the SEO for your Danville web site. Whether that effect is positive or negative depends on how the redirects are used.
Redirects are used to send a visitor to a different URL, or page, than the original URL which was called. Some of the reasons a redirect may be used include:
- broken or non-working URL,
- an inactive webpage,
- a new or updated version of the page,
- testing a webpage, or
- bypassing a webpage while it is being repaired.
This is usually accomplished by adding some code to your index page or .htaccess file in your web space. The most common of these is the 301 redirect, which refers to a permanent redirect of one URL to another. This is a better option than the 302 redirect, which is a temporary version. The temporary (302) redirect is not always recognized by Google and other search engines, and therefore the 301, which allows Google to easily follow the link and adjust the listing – even though it does reduce the ranking a little – is a better choice.
So how do you keep your necessary 301s from adversely affecting your SEO efforts? Start by making sure that the 301s are necessary. Eliminate any unnecessary redirects. URLs that are what they say they are always a better option than redirects when it is possible.
Redirect chains can mess up your SEO pretty seriously. This is when a redirected page gets sent to another redirect, and another – taking time as the browser bounces from one page to another. For every bounce, the authority of a page is lost in the search engines, and load time increases. Skip the middle-links and have the first page directly redirect to the last instead.
Check internal links for redirects and redirect chains, as well. There are tools available – such as the one at Screaming Frog – that can help you more easily scope out these redirects and adjust as necessary.
If you are using canonical tags, be very careful that none of the pages with canonical tags are redirected. This would be a great detriment to your search engine ranking. Canonical tags on their own are helpful – especially if you use a content management system such as WordPress, Joomla, or something similar. Because this type of software often appends characters to pages randomly, the links can look different to a search engine while the content is the same, which could result in the search engine labeling it as duplicate content. However, the canonical tag lets the search engine know it is actually the same page. Having this type of page redirect would confuse the search engine and drop the ranking.
As you work on the SEO for your Danville business, keep in mind that redirects have the potential of damaging your ranking unless you use them responsibly.