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Reducing Redirects to Improve Site Speed

Reducing redirects is essential to your search engine optimization strategy. Not many users are willing to wait through a long load time, myself included. Let’s be real, when we want information, we want it at our pace….we want it yesterday. So what are redirects, and how do we eliminate them?

What are Redirects?

As basic as it sounds, redirects are exactly that! Something used to redirect visitors from one file on a web page to the next file. This usually happens when the browser struggles to connect directly to the destination the visitor intended, and this process could take far too long.

Why are Redirects Used?

The owner of a website may issue a redirect on their page for many reasons. There are some good reasons to use to them, however, none will help the speed of your website. Among the most popular are:

  • Renaming or rebranding a website, using a different URL.
  • Bringing traffic from one URL to another, within the same company.
  • Connecting different parts of a site or application.
  • Directing users to the new location of a resource.
  • Updating a website, temporarily relocate visitors.
  • Tracking clicks, impressions, and log referring pages.

It is important to note, there are two types of redirects.

  1. 301 Redirects: pages permanently moved.
  2. 302 Redirects: pages temporarily moved.

When a 301 redirect is used, you are telling the search engines that the old page has been moved, and to direct traffic to the new page.

If you choose a 302 redirect, you are telling the search engine that your page may have been temporarily moved. This is usually used when a website is being updated.

Redirects and Site Speed

Site speed should be a most important focus when it comes to the optimization of your website. You want to ensure your page is working smoothly, guaranteeing visitors come back. If users are not staying on your page, you may end up losing out on a lot. Not only on potential sales, but also your rank on search engines.

It should come as no surprise to you that when you implement redirects, you are risking your site speed. Any additional time spent loading your page, puts you at risk. Page visitors do not want to wait to see results. By the time servers go from one page, to the next, users are already hitting the “back” button.

Removing or Reducing Redirects

According to Google, you should be reducing redirects, as needed. They advise never linking to pages that possess redirects. Additionally, you should never require more than one redirect to move to any of your websites resources.

Ready to begin reducing redirects? First things first, make sure the redirects you are seeing are serving a purpose. If the redirect is not necessary to your websites function, remove it. Try to determine if they are redirects from HTML, or Javascript, or redirects from your 301 or 302’s (this could make a huge difference).

Next, you may consider using more responsive layouts. Often times, redirects come from desktop-to-mobile transitions. Reducing redirects is easy in this method, saving everyone a bit of time.

Additionally, there are companies that specialize in helping your SEO practices. If reducing redirects is a top priority for you, it may be time to reach out to one of those aides.

At the end of the day, redirects aren’t the biggest mountains to climb, in regards to SEO. Although, they are important if you are working on improving your site speed. It is possible to utilize redirects in order to help visitors, if done the correct way.


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