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301 Redirect Chains, Intro to an Advanced SEO Topic

Mike Krass • April 26, 2016 • 2 minutes to read

This is a little bit of a teaser post, but we wanted to go over the concept of what a 301 redirect chain is. More specifically:

  • What it is
  • Impact on your website
  • Impact on page authority
  • Whenever you're doing any type of site migration or if you're changing URLs a lot, how it's critical to look into this element and make sure none of the 301 redirects you have in place are chaining.

So 301 redirect chains:

I'm going to give you a little bit of a tease here.

Essentially, you can think of a 301 redirect like this:

You go to from an old URL to a new URL. From a user standpoint, it's hardly noticeable. For a search engine one, it's definitely noticeable. A 301 redirect is like giving the post office a change of address card to search engines.

In this scenario you will retain anywhere from ninety-five to ninety-nine percent of any and all link authority and the page authority of that old URL.

With a redirect chain, you amplify the loss by two, three, four, five, six times.

Essentially you have knowingly (or unknowingly) set up a 301 redirect to a URL with another 301 redirect. This is a 2 chain redirect.

Now for a worst-case scenario: If you have a chain of five, you're only retaining sixty to seventy-five-ish percent of that page authority! If you're talking about a whole bunch of URLs that could have a significant impact on your website.

That's a little bit of a teaser of what we're going to be talking about in a future post. The next post will go deeper on the definition of a redirect chain, how to run a couple of reports using some free tools you may or may not have access to to find those 301 redirect chains, and how to fix them.

PS: If you want to read the only thorough review of this topic that I've ever found, read Dan Shure's "Stop pulling my redirect chain!"

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