An effective SEO strategy that is worth revisiting in 2020 is eliminating permanent 301 redirects throughout your site to help maximize performance. This improved user experience will also work toward improving keyword rankings. Recently, we helped a client improve keywords ranking in Google’s top 100 by 8% in a short amount of time by focusing on removing several 301 redirects.
The SEMrush site audit we ran on December 2, 2019, identified 3,524 permanent redirects throughout our client’s website. This number of redirects was a result of a blog integration, as well as numerous updates to the site over the years. But the recent blog migration process more than tripled the number of redirects on the site.
We’ve removed 2,715 permanent 301 redirects from December to date (75%) and improved overall keywords ranking in Google’s top 100 by 8% as a result. Our plan is to continue removing the final 849 redirects for further improvement in this area.
We went from 3,524 permanent redirects in December to 849 in February and improved keywords rankings in the top 100 from 38,434 to 44,046 during that time. This represents a 15% improvement in keyword rankings during this roughly 75-day period. There was also an increase in organic traffic from 59K sessions in December to 83K in January.
In a number of blog articles, there were links to other blogs or pages that have since been redirected. To eliminate the instance of a 301 redirect on the website, we updated that internal link to be directed to the final destination or removed the hyperlinked text completely. In a lot of cases, there were “people also read” blogs inserted manually and dynamically. When duplicative, we removed links to those manual sections in addition to other updates.
You might not have 3,524 permanent 301 redirects to remove from your website… or hopefully, you don’t. But what these numbers tell us is that you shouldn’t rely on 301s forever. When they can be removed — or not used in the first place — don’t use them. Or if you need to go back and update a link that has since been redirected, it would help your SEO to do so.
If you can decrease instances of these redirects existing on your website it will help improve user experience and keyword rankings. It will also help prevent the creation of redirect chains or loops in the future.
You will need to use permanent 301 redirects. We get that. But by strategically working to minimize them as much as possible, you will also be working to improve the SEO health of your website.