How URL Redirection Can Impact SEO

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Google has released an updated document that reviews six different types of URL redirects and their effects on search results.

Google’s Gary Illyes and Lizzi Harvey worked together to add eight pages of content to an existing 301 redirect help page.

With only five paragraphs, the previous version of Google’s help guide lacked detail.

So Google has done what it always tells site owners to do, which is to update old content to provide a more comprehensive solution to searcher queries.

Now, the guide has information about each type of redirect, examples of how they look, and details about how they affect Google Search.

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Here is a summary of the newly added information.

Types of redirects and impact on Google search

The difference between redirects is undetectable to visitors, but Google treats them differently in terms of the strength of the signals sent to the target URL.

Redirects fall into one of two categories: temporary or permanent.

Google uses a permanent redirect as strong indicate that the target URL should be the one displayed in the search results.

Conversely, Google uses a temporary redirect as low signal that the redirect target should be the URL displayed in the search results.

Full details on the following six types of redirects have been added to Google’s help page:

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  • Permanent server-side redirects: The best way to change the URL displayed for a page in search results. Google recommends using this type whenever possible. Status codes 301 and 308 mean that a page has been permanently moved to a new location.
  • Temporary server-side redirects: Temporarily sends visitors to a new page while ensuring that Google keeps the old URL in its results longer.
  • Instant meta-refresh redirect: Google Search interprets instant meta-refresh redirects as permanent redirects.
  • Delayed meta refresh redirect: Google Search interprets delayed meta-refresh redirects as temporary redirects.
  • JavaScript location redirects: Google Search interprets and executes JavaScript using the web rendering service after URL crawling is complete.
  • Cryptographic redirects: This is to add a link pointing to a new page accompanied by a brief explanation. It helps users find your new page and Google can understand this as a cryptographic redirect.

Additional Notes

There is a lot to do in Google’s new guide. Here are some final points about redirects based on company recommendations.

Choosing a redirect depends on how long you expect the redirect will be in place and the page you want Google search to appear on in search results.

If there’s a chance that you want a particular URL to show up again in search results, don’t permanently redirect it to another.

Always go for server-side redirects whenever possible. Use JavaScript redirects only if you cannot perform server-side redirects or meta-refresh.

Don’t rely on crypto redirects to notify search engines that your content has been moved, unless you have no other choice.

To learn more, see the full Google document.


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