October 6


Check that your internal links aren’t pointing to redirects

By Jason Khoo

October 6, 2020


Hi guys. Welcome to another edition of the Zupo's SEO Talk and Tea. 

Today's conversation, check that your internal links aren't pointing to redirects. This is more a conversation only when it becomes on a mass scale. I have worked with sites where they have been major issues that have arise because there were so many internal links pointing to redirects, but I'll go into more detail in a second.

Before we begin, I do want to introduce the tea we have today because this is Zupo's SEO Talk and Tea. Today we have a green tea that was gifted to my father from our extended or long lost family from China. My family is originally from... Well, originally, the... Interesting way to put it. I'm the first one born in the US. My parents came from Malaysia. They had lived in Malaysia for six generations. And then before the six generations, their ancestors had immigrated from China to Malaysia. So I don't know. So my dad went to China, essentially to go find our ancestral grounds and meet with the family that's still there. So they gifted him this tea, and that's what we're having today.

But let's go and jump into the conversation at hand. So making sure that your internal links are pointing to the actual destination URL and not the redirects. So the reason why this is important, because if it's on a minor scale, it's not that big of a deal. The reason why redirects are made is so that when someone goes to a URL, they can automatically be redirected somewhere else. And so it's not really the biggest deal if you forget, because it happens to all sites. As sites get updated, things will change. But where they can cause problems is if you start to have redirect chains or you have internal links pointing to redirects on a mass scale.

So for example, one of the easiest ways that you can have a redirects on a mass scale become overwhelming for your site and the SEO is when... For example, let's say your website is a pizza shop, and your pizza shop decides to do your URL structure as pizza.com/pizza/pepperoni. And that's for the pepperoni pizza page. And then you want to do pizza.com/pizza/meatball, right? So you can tell by the URL structure, you go domain pizza, which is the main product you're trying to buy. And then the last part, the last slash is the ingredient. Now let's say, you're like, "You know what, let's change it up a bit. Let's go pizza.com/pepperonipizza." So therefore it's just pepperoni-pizza. And you decide, "Okay, that's the way we're going to do it from now on." And so when you update the URL, your site though, if you don't go through all the internal links, we'll still all point to pizza.com/pizza/pepperoni.

And though you may set up a redirect where you click and Google knows, that means every instance on your site has that redirect. And that's not a problem. But here's where things compound really quickly. Did you also do it for the meatball one? Did you do it for every other ingredient? So does that mean 95% of the internal links in your site all point to redirects? That can be a problem.

Second, let's say you make multiple changes. So let me slow down again. The original was pizza.com/pizza/pepperoni. Then you want to change it to pizza.com/pepperoni-pizza. And then someone was like, "Why do we even have pizza at the end? Let's just call it pizza.com/pepperoni." And you're like, "Yeah, you know what? Let's do that." So now your original URL has been redirected to the second URL that we listed and then a third URL.

So not only will your site have lots of internal links pointing to redirect, does each internal link, how many layers of redirects can it go? I have worked on a site where the internal links are doing five to seven redirect layers deep. And that was causing a lot of SEO problems. Because the reason why Google doesn't like it, is their crawlers need to go through your internal links. If the redirect layers are too large, it takes more computing power for them. And in addition, if every internal link is like that, it will cause a slowdown in the ability for them to crawl and index. And also the site speed. So on a minor scale, when you have a couple, it's not the biggest deal in the world. But when you have a large scale of them, it can slow down your site in terms of crawling, your actual page speed, and then Google can actually start penalizing you for it because the user experience, with so many redirects, isn't really there.

In addition, when you're passing SEO value, let's say you're getting links. When you pass value through a 301 redirect, it lessens a bit. Now it's not a lot. It's significant, but if you 301 redirect one page to another, the SEO value from that one page to the other can lessen. And so the more redirects you have, the more it lessens. And therefore it is very important that you do your best to keep the redirects at a minimal spot.

So for example, let me go back to the example. If you had pizza.com/pizza/pepperoni, but it still had the three redirects, eliminate the middle one. So now it should be pizza.com/pepperoni/pizza redirects to pizza.com/pepperoni. There's no need for the middle one, because it just adds a redirect layer and it will just lessen link equity as you do redirects.

So as you're going to go through your site and you're growing it, you need to be mindful of the internal links and the redirects. To be honest, everyone forgets, but there are times where it is good to schedule checks just to make sure what new pages do we add, do we change to new URLs, and do we need to update internal links?

There are lots of great tools out there where you can analyze, are there any areas on the site still internal linking to this URL? And then you can update that. I personally use Screaming Frog. There's a lot of other competitors out there that will do the same job. So it is something that is worth doing.

But I'm going to go ahead and leave it at that. If you guys have any questions, always feel free to let me know. I'm going to go home and pour out my tea. And if you guys found the video valuable, please like and subscribe. And I hope to see you guys again soon. Thanks.

Jason Khoo

About the author

Jason is founder and CEO of Zupo, which is an Orange County based SEO consulting agency helping construct powerful long term SEO strategies for our clients. Jason also enjoys multiple cups of tea a day, hiding away on weekends catching up on reading and rewatching The Simpsons for the 20th time.

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