Many SEOs have been reluctant to implement HTTPs, undertake site migrations, and update URLs because of the risks of 301 and 302 redirects. These once saw some overwhelming losses in PageRank: a 15% loss for 301 redirects and HTTPS site migrations, and a 100% PageRank loss with 302, 307 and 3xx (shorthand for all the 300 redirects) redirects (this is down to 302s being temporary in comparison to permanent 301s).
However, Google has been working hard to eradicate these negative implications by reassuring SEOs that there is no loss in PageRank for 301 and 302 redirects from HTTP to HTTPS. So, what’s the deal?
The old versus the new
Whereas the old SEO procedure of 3xx redirection saw this format:
URL 1 â†’ 301 and HTTPS redirects â†’ URL 2 [resulting in a 15% PageRank loss]
URL 1 â†’ 302, 307 and 3xx redirects â†’ URL 2 [resulting in a 100% PageRank loss]
The new SEO procedure sees this format:
URL 1 â†’ 301 and HTTPS redirects â†’ URL 2 [0% PageRank loss]
URL 1 â†’ 302, 307 and 3xx redirects â†’ URL 2 [0% PageRank loss]
If you’re looking to redirect a URL, is this change good?
Of course these changes are good, but there are still some implications to consider
Using 302s still isn’t as effective as using 301s – Although it is a lot more safer to get away with using 302 redirects than it was previously, there is still an open debate as to whether 301s and 302s are treated equally; the caveat here is that even though Google say yes, 301s and 302s are equal, this isn’t necessarily the case for the other large search engines out there.
You still risk losing site traffic – redirects can get messy, so if your redirect isn’t working correctly and directs your site users to irrelevant pages, you will lose page value very quickly. You’re also still at risk of losing traffic if you migrate to a HTTPS site too, due to how complicated these migrations are, and can get.
Final SEO food for thought?
PageRank isn’t the only source that contributes to the ranking of your site on Google, which means all the other best practices involving the redirection process are exactly the same.
301s are still preferred over 302 redirects due to their permanency.
An obvious one, but the best redirects are those where everything is kept the same aside for the URL.
There is still an element of risk.