When it comes to website redirects, many website owners have questions about how they may affect their SEO, and at this point, if they do at all. All is fair in love and SEO, and with it’s current format, the answer is not so clear.

What is a Website Redirect?

Let’s dive into what a redirect is. Essentially, a redirect is a way to send users and search engines from one URL to another. There are several types of redirects, including 301 redirects (good), which are the most commonly used type of redirect, as well as 302 redirects (bad), as well as meta refresh redirects (which we don’t specifically cover).

Illustration of two piees of paper showing how one website directs you to another.

How Does it Impact SEO?

So, how do they? In general, if you need to change the URL of a page, it’s best to use a 301 redirect. This tells search engines that the page has permanently moved to a new location, and any SEO value that was associated with the old URL will be passed on to the new URL. Alternatively, if you use a 302 redirect or a meta refresh redirect, search engines won’t necessarily assign the same SEO value to the new URL. With this in mind, it is best to make sure ALL your redirects are that of a 301 variety.

For a little more information on this and the types of redirects, Google’s Support Doc regarding them is a pretty valuable resource that I recommend looking at.

It’s also important to note that too many redirects can have a negative impact on SEO for a few different reasons! If you have too many redirects in place, it can slow down your website and make it harder for search engines to crawl and index your pages.

This is key for a few different reasons. Over the course of this series, I’ve really tried to hammer home how everything truly comes back to user experience. Well, if your website loads more slowly, or a link takes a user to a page they were not expeting, it can dramatically increase your bounce rate, and diminish that user experience overall. Google can use this as a factor in where they rank your website in search results, so keep it in mind.

There is a final portion of redirects that doesn’t necessarily matter anymore, but still want to bring it up for posterity’s sake. There exists something called a crawl budget, which is the amount of pages Google will crawl of your given website. If you hit that budget before Google crawls your whole website, it will not longer index those pages. Having fewer pages overall aids in avoiding that. Now, the crawl budget is at a point where it is gigantic, and it’s not much of a concern anymore, but I am just letting you know if your redirects get out of control or want to look up more information.

Auditing and What to Look For

Redirects cover a few different things and you want to make sure that all things are looked at and healthy. To this end, we turn to trusty (read the following words with fanfare and trumpets and an echo effect) Screaming Frog!

The first things first, 301 redirects, barring that they are not out of control, are totally okay. Make sure there isn’t an absurd abundance, but from my undersatnding, they can be mostly ignored.

The main things you want to keep a look out for are 302 redirects. So crawl your website, and make your way down to the Response Code Section and find your Redirection (3xx) portion. (As per always, I’ve redacted information of who you are looking at).

A screenshot of SEO App Screaming Frog highlighting the Redirection segment of it's capabilities.

Now you can either export this report and create a filter for only 302 and can address those issues. For me, there were only so many pages with redirects, I was able to compile my own list of 302’s and created my own report using that.

Just to reiterate, a 302 redirect denotes that the information previously on the page will be available again at some point, whereas a 301 redirect permanently redirects traffic from one page to another. Using exclusively 301 redirects helps to ensure a webpage’s reputation is assigned to a singular page vs diluting it with other pages referencing the same content. Informing your client of such or ammending your own website is super important to meet best practices.


Overall, website redirects can be a useful tool for managing your website’s URL structure, but they should be used strategically and with care. By following best practices and keeping user experience in mind, you can ensure that redirects have a positive impact on your SEO and website performance.