• Wendy Danko

Redirects in an SEO Audit Report

Updated: Oct 26


Which why? The right SEO redirect will get your customers to the right page..

How does SEO work? Part Three - Redirects


In this series, How does SEO work?, I am discussing SEO and reading the SEO audit report. A good SEO audit report is an excellent place to start when looking for ways to improve your website.


Two weeks ago my blog post explained Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Last week I explained Crawlability and Indexing and what to look for in an audit report.


This week I discuss Redirects and what to look for in an SEO audit report.


Redirects happen when one page has moved, for various reasons, to a different place. A different place could be a new web address, removed, or replaced. To keep your website running smoothly and to retain your ranking score in search engines, there a specific ways to handle redirects.


There are four areas to consider when going over redirects in an SEO audit report:

  • 302 redirects

  • 301 redirect

  • long redirect chains

  • Meta refresh redirects

(see below for descriptions)


The next three on the list are related to redirects and should not be ignored.

  • rel="canonical" tag or rel="canonical" HTTP header

  • www and non-www versions

  • HTTP/HTTPS versions

(see below for descriptions)


302 redirects

It is not recommended to use a 302 temporary redirect code to send searchers to a different webpage. Search engines sometimes still index 302 pages causing a duplicate content issue. A 302 redirect is a temporary redirect but it is best practice to use a 301 redirect.


301 redirect

A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect code. Good practice in SEO is to use the 301 redirects which transfer authority from the old page is to the new page. Authority on your website, pages or blog will help with your ranking score.


long redirect chains

Best practices for redirects between web pages is not to exceed two redirects per page. If there are more than two redirects issues may pop up.


  • Google may not be able to index long redirect chains because the bots are having trouble following the chain.

  • Long redirect chains will also slow down your page speed.

  • Your bounce rate may be high because users will not wait for a slow page to load.


meta refresh redirects

Meta refresh redirects are used to direct searchers to different updated content.

Best practice for SEO, according to Google Quality Guidelines, is to not use meta refresh redirects. This type of redirect can cause confusion for the search engine. Get rid of any meta refresh redirects that might show up in your SEO audit and use the 301 redirects instead.


rel="canonical" tag or rel="canonical" HTTP header

Sometimes you need a web page to be in two places at the same time. A good example would be on a retail site with items that need to be in different categories. The item may then have two different URLs. A rel=“cononical” tag would then be used to identify which page has priority.


When implemented properly, the priority page or rel=”cononical” tagged page, can then rank in search engines.


You can also configure your server to use the rel=”cononical” HTTP headers. It is recommended that a webmaster configure these tags because they can be quite technical.


www and non-www versions

Choose one or the other. You don’t want your website indexed for two different versions. Here is why: you are trying to build authority for your website or blog and not confuse search engines or customers. Having your website indexed for both www and non-www spreads your authority thin over two properties when both have been indexed. Using one or the other is a best practice.


HTTP/HTTPS versions

HTTP is a non-secure site. HTTPS is a secure site. Google search engine now gives searchers a warning when a site is non-secure or has an "insecure connection" (HTTP). A secure website has a valid SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate.


If you have both an HTTP and HTTPS site search engines may see that as a duplicate content issue. Duplicate content will hurt your ranking score.


Make sure you are using only HTTPS, including any sites you link out to. If you link to an unsecured site you are making your site vulnerable.


I hope you found these six items and the explanations helpful when it comes to redirects in your SEO audit report.


If you have any questions, please contact me I would be happy to help.


The next blog post will be about URLs and more in an SEO audit report.


Happy Optimizing!

Wendy Danko


Need an audit of your website?


If you missed “how does SEO work?” part one - here it is.


If you missed Crawlablity and Indexing here it is.


About the Author

Wendy Danko is an SEO and Web Design Consultant at WenKo LLC. Having a design background has its perks, especially when it comes to website design and SEO. Wendy is determined to help every one of her clients improve their website and SEO. With website improvements, her clients have uncovered new leads to grow their client base.

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