HoosierBuff

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I don't know how everyone else is doing, but the apparent change in 301 redirects re:SEO is still throwing me for a loop. So many of my instincts are to fix these urls when I see them redirect (and there still are good reasons to do so), but, in many other instances, there are things we used to fix, and now, don't have to.

It's like I have an instinct to fix these, but, have to remind myself, it doesn't matter.

Case in point:

I have a weird client that put their home page at websitename.com/product and I begged them to redirect the home page so that it resolved at websitename.com

Now, the main reason I wanted to have this happen is gone. Still weird to me.
 

JoshuaMackens

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Ahh, yeah I saw that but I didn't quite put two and two together.

How exactly is this changing how you do 301's, 302's, etc.?
 

HoosierBuff

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I think it changes a few things. . .for example, before I might be afraid to change a URL, but now, I should probably be less resistant to change urls, since, a 301 redirect won't hurt.

In another example, I usually run screaming frog over a site to see if there are any bad links on the site, and I will make sure to repair those. While I think that may have some value to help speed the crawl up, it seems less important if the page rank still flows to the page unimpeded.
 

DanLeibson

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You should still be mainly using 301 redirects. Either Illyes or Mueller (don't remember which) said that while 3xx still pass PageRank e.g. link equity, that only 301s help deal with canonicalization. This creates a interesting situation:

If you use a 302 redirect, it will pass PageRank and also not tell $GOOG the new URL is the canonical version of that URL/content. That means that there can be two URLs that $GOOG thinks are relevant for the same term which can depress rankings, especially if you use 302s at scale (like with deprecated pages on a big site etc).

Also it means that SEOs have to be more aggressive with training, especially when working with big companies. Now devs are going to push back on 301s by referencing the new 3xx redirect rules and can potentially create huge issues. We have already seen a client shoot themselves in the foot with this.

Just some food for thought.
 
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JoshuaMackens

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I think it changes a few things. . .for example, before I might be afraid to change a URL, but now, I should probably be less resistant to change urls, since, a 301 redirect won't hurt.

In another example, I usually run screaming frog over a site to see if there are any bad links on the site, and I will make sure to repair those. While I think that may have some value to help speed the crawl up, it seems less important if the page rank still flows to the page unimpeded.

Ahh, I just did a 301 redirect anyway if I needed to change URL's as usually you're changing inner pages and inner pages (for local businesses) hardly ever have any type of backlinks pointing to them so there's no need to worry about Pagerank dilution. Especially considering the Pagerank of an inner page is mostly going to be made up of Pagerank being passed by on-site interlinking (again, because of no backlinks) and that benefit won't change as the new URL will get the same benefit of interlinking by virtue of being an inner page on the website.

I hope that's not confusing.

Is my logic faulty here?
 

Eric Rohrback

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Yeah, Dan's right about that. Everyone really needs to stop taking what Google says at face value and really think through the possible implications of every website tweak they make. Redirects do a ton more than kill/pass pagerank, so you can really mess up a website's performance if you pick the wrong one.

301 is still a permanent redirect, while 302 is a temporary. You're still telling search engines (all search engines, stop thinking about just Google) how they need to interpret the change. 301 means the previous page will never come back, while 302 could be used to rebuild the old page or run a short term promotion page in place of the core page.

I have a weird client that put their home page at websitename.com/product and I begged them to redirect the home page so that it resolved at websitename.com

That is pretty weird, but I see doing websitename.com/index.html as the homepage the same thing. If you go to websitename.com, does it redirect to /product? If not, then you need to put a redirect one way or another.

I think it changes a few things. . .for example, before I might be afraid to change a URL, but now, I should probably be less resistant to change urls, since, a 301 redirect won't hurt.

If you change a URL, you could still see issues; mostly related to what Dan mentioned with canonicalization. If you change a URL or URL structure, you still need Google to crawl the page to understand it's gone and pointing to a new page (if a 301 is used). You may see a temporary drop as things are getting sorted out on Google's end as well. There's also the potential that a keyword in the old URL was helping (either from an algorithmic standpoint or a CTR), so that could affect things.

There's just a lot more to think about when doing redirects than just whether PageRank will be passed. You need to make sure the strategy fits the company objectives and the new page will be more beneficial to the user.

two helpful resources -
https://moz.com/blog/301-redirection-rules-for-seo
https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/93633?hl=en

The last thing I'll add about using a 301... If you decide to use a 301, you need to be absolutely sure the previous page will not be used again (mostly related to URL). It's a pain to get the old page reindexed once the redirect rule has been lifted. Not impossible, but expect to put in some work and for it to take time. If you think the old URL/page will be needed in the future, use a 302.
 
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