Six errors with redirects that can damage the site’s traffic

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Redirects are a natural part of the evolution of a site: the more the site grows in size and complexity, the more opportunities to use them, and the same progressive optimization work can lead to the need to merge some pages dealing with the same topic (valid strategy to refresh evergreen content, for example), or replace some out of stock products, or even consolidate Urls and so on. Any type of redirect or method used to redirect can be advantageous for site traffic and SEO, but in case of errors it can cause the fall of traffic and rankings: these are 6 common problems that can bring organic traffic declines to our project.

The importance of redirects for the SEO

The use of redirects is “one of those areas where even a simple mistake can have important consequences for the traffic of your site”, explains Ludwig Makhyan on Search Engine Journal.

Generally, redirects are used to move similar content of service pages or blog posts that today are no longer as relevant as time and that only take space, or to manage sensitive processes such as the migration of the site or changes to its structure.

In general, a redirect is simply a way to forward one URL to another and, as explained by Google, we can choose to use many types of redirects – 301, 302, 307, 308 – using a meta refresh, Javascript, HTTP headers and other techniques, all more or less valid.

For example, if the site sells shoes and has multiple product pages – such as:

  • com/products/shoes
  • com/products/blue-shoes
  • com/products/white-shoes

it could come a time when there are no more blue or white shoes, or proves more useful and advantageous to combine all the pages in one: the redirect will allow us to redirect the single pages of blue and white shoes to the main page of shoes.

This helps us to keep the site organized, making it necessary to less clicks to land on a page, and at the same time to focus all optimization efforts on a page instead of on many.

The 6 most frequent errors with redirects

Given the sensitivity of this theme, the author has identified 6 frequent redirect errors to avoid absolutely, remembering to always hold under control the diagrams of the course of the traffic in order to notice if we find a sudden decrease that can be correlated exactly to a problem of this kind.

  1. Redirect everything to the home page

The idea of redirecting each page to the home page in an attempt to classify you by competitive terms could cause more harm than benefit.