Before we go on to discuss 301 redirections and its impacts on SEO(Search Engine Optimization), let us talk in brief about SEO.
By definition, SEO stands for search engine optimization. It is the art of ranking high on a search engine in the unpaid section, also known as the organic listings.
SEO is a technique in which by the optimization of keywords in your content, page rendering speed, bounce back rate, etc. we can improve the rank of pages in search engines page results. The better the rank, the higher it will be placed in the search results. And of course, there are lots of sources available online to learn about the techniques to do SEO for your website or blog.
Let me put some stats for you:
- Seventy-five percent of users use Google as their primary search engine.
- The first five results get almost 67 percent of the clicks
By the above little statistics, you may wonder how important it is to use SEO for your website or blog.
In this particular blog post, we are not going to discuss SEO in detail; instead, we will be talking about 301 redirects (a specific phenomenon which affects the rank of your page or your SEO).
Now, we have got some idea about what SEO is and how it affects a customer’s search results and your business. So, lets deep dive into 301 redirects and how you can leverage it for your websites or blog posts and grow your business.
Let us go one by one:
- What is a 3XX redirect?
- How they affect SEO?
What is a 3XX redirect?
When you type in a URL in your web browser, and then somehow you land on some a different URL, that’s called a redirect.
Now you may be questioning, Hey! How to determine whether it is a 301 or 302 redirect?
301 is an HTTP code, a code that the internet and your browser use to understand certain phenomena. 301 redirect status lets the search engines and your web browsers know that the page you are looking for has been moved to a different location permanently.
HTTP code 302 says that the page has been moved to a different location (URL — universal resource locator ) temporarily.
You may wonder how redirecting a page from one URL to another will affect your SEO. According to SEO professionals, 301 redirects have been directly linked to PageRank.
If you are thinking what the heck is a PageRank, well page rank is a technique that search engines use to give weight to your page based on the quality of the page. Of course, there are a lot more factors that also contribute along with PageRank to decide at what position your page appears on a user search.
So how do they affect SEO, before 2016 it was considered that a page redirects a 301 or 302 will reduce a PageRank by a certain factor lets say a 20%, now consider this :
If you take the above scenario, you can tell the page rank has been decreased by 36%; that’s a considerable margin.
The number 20% is just for argument sake and not the actual number; the actual number can be lesser than this. The factor by which the PageRake gets lowered every time there is a redirect is called the “dampening factor.”
How does 301 redirect effects SEO?
301 redirect is the preferred over all other 3xx redirects for SEOs due to its ability to retain the link equity to the redirected new page. So with 301 redirects, the value of the new page after redirection is as good as the old one if the page content is the same as earlier.
How does 302 redirect effects SEO?
When used correctly, a 302 redirect will not hurt your SEO efforts.
With 302 redirects, the original page may remain indexed in Search engines, and no value (link equity) will be transferred to the new URL because search engines know this is just temporary.
How does 301 or 302 redirect from HTTP to HTTPS affect SEO?
As per Google’s John Mueller declaration, “no PageRank is lost for 301 or 302 redirects from HTTP to HTTPS”. This strategy promotes webmasters to choose HTTPS over HTTP. Also, Google gives a small boost to HTTPS websites.
For other search engines like Bing and Baidu, the strategy may be different.
Drawback of redirects
In another way, more redirects or a redirect chain may highly increase the page load time and may contribute significantly to a lower PageRank. But caution here is that 301 and 302 redirects may cause many other issues related to SEO.
All 3XX redirects carry risks to some extent in carrying the page link equity. So, decisions should be taken carefully. The best strategy is to let page content remain the same, and only the link URL should be updated.