What Are Redirect Chains and How Do They Affect SEO?

redirect chain SEOMany business owners, marketers, and even developers don’t realize that while redirects are great for website health and SEO, when implemented incorrectly they can have a negative impact. One example of incorrect redirects is the creation of a redirect chain.

Keep on reading to learn what they are and how they can impact SEO.

Redirect Chains Defined

When you redirect a page on your website, usually, it’s from point A to point B. However, if you eventually redirect point B to point C, you then have created a redirect chain for point A, as that page no longer has a direct path to its new destination.

Reasons for Redirects

  • Change of URL structure
  • 404s from deleted pages
  • Website redesign
  • Other factors

Why Do Redirect Chains Affect SEO?

Here are some of the negative impacts that redirect chains can have on SEO, as discussed by HubSpot:

  • Loss of backlink equity – One of the biggest hits to your SEO from redirect chains is to your built-up equity from link building and/or PR outreach. According to HubSpot, if you redirect a page that is linked on a site, you still get 100% of the equity, but that percentage goes down the more redirects the page takes.
  • Lowered site performance – If you are not regularly running audits on your site’s health, you could be missing out on seeing what issues are holding your site back. Redirect chains could be the culprit in some cases as they slow down websites. We love SERanking’s new website audit tool to get a view of how our site is doing.
  • Indexing issues – When search engine bots crawl your site for content, they are only allocated a certain amount of time to do so. And even if you have a smaller site, redirects can get in the way and make it difficult for these scanners to scrape through your entire site.

How to Find Redirect Chains

The most well-rounded tool to analyze your site for redirect chains is the program Screaming Frog. It is free to download and uses to up to 500 URLs, but offers paid features as well. Their redirect checker can easily tell you issues with redirects on your domain.

Worried About Site Health? 5 Things to Check

  1. Site speed – Using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool, you can see how quickly your site’s pages load, and Google will give you feedback on how to improve. You can also check out our blog post for some advice as well.
  2. Images – From your pics being too large to them having missing alt tags, there are various ways images can hinder site health. Here is an article from our blog that can help you get started fixing these issues.
  3. Links – Are you linking to dead pages on your site? Maybe you have mismatched HTTP/HTTPS protocols in your inner links? Search engines reward websites that make pages better and easier for users, and the links on your pages are a part of that.

These are just a few things to keep an eye on when it comes to site health. For a more comprehensive list, check out our 2021 website maintenance checklist!

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