How to Ruin or Save Your Website with Redirects

Do you have multiple 301 redirects to your site?  Most would expect a boost in traffic but if done incorrectly, traffic can go down and your site may be penalized by search engines.  When done right, 301 redirects can clean up messy architecture, solve outdated content problems and improve the user experience.

The past year, Google has been strict with low quality links so the potential damage from improper 301 redirects increase.

So what makes a good 301 redirect?  A perfect 301 redirect means everything about the page except the URL stays the same.  This includes content, title tag, images and layout.  When done properly, 301 redirects pass somewhere around 85% of its original link equity.

The new page does not have to be a perfect match for the 301 to pass equity but problems come up when you redirect to a non-relevant page.  For example, if you redirect a page about Chevy’s to a page about cars, it makes sense.  But when you redirect a page about Chevy’s to a page about dogs, you will be penalized.

Another practice that will get you penalized is redirecting a large number of pages to the home page of a new site.  The new site may be relevant, but, if your redirect a large number of pages to one it will affect your search rankings. It is best practice to redirect each page of the old site to the corresponding page of a new site.

It is important to remember that 301 redirects will bring bad backlinks with it.  If your old site has a number of low quality or bad backlinks, 301 redirects will carry over the penalties that come with them.

By: Tony Fong

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