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302 Redirect Killed Rankings
Posted 10 January 2007 - 01:16 PM
About 3 weeks ago we moved content from our old URL to a new URL because of a corporate restructure etc.
As per Scotty's advice, I set up a 302 redirect exactly as described and all went well until about a week ago. Google saw fit to remove all of the pages that were 302'd from the search results. The pages are still indexed, but they aren't even on page 10,000 of results that we used to rank #1 for.
My competition is having a heyday because of this and I'm wondering if I should update up my resume...
I don't understand how this happened? I understand Google went though an update recently; has Google finally caught on to the 302 redirect trick?
Posted 10 January 2007 - 03:51 PM
Have you done a Google Sitemap for the new domain? That might help a bit.
And if the 302 no longer works, then you're pretty much up a creek, because you'll have the same problems with a 301. Sucks to change domains and pretty ridulous that Google can't figure out how to make it work smoothly.
Posted 10 January 2007 - 03:51 PM
Its a status header that says this page has been moved temporarily.
If google decided to penalise pages for doing this then they'd be a whole lot of issues and we'd be hearing a whole lot more noise out there in the forums.
Some people for example, use
As I understand it the above code usually defaults to a 302.
They don't always add the 301 line as referenced below.
header ("HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently");
Other pages use the meta refresh tag which also defaults similarly.
My point is that I doubt that the 302 is entirely if at all, responsible and that perhaps its either a glitch, a temporary hiccup or something else.
You could be right too of course, Google may well have changed the way they handle such things, Im just not seeing the evidence from others in any numbers.
Personally, I'd always advise gradualism with these kind of changes. Major rejigs in the form of content changes url movements could be interpreted as a cautionary signal and viewed accordingly. I guess a sites trust and authority scores may also have some influence on how this is treated
p.s fwiw, I know this sucks too, its double stressful when you do something and it goes all wonky. Is there anything else you can share with us about this, perhaps someone can spot something you overlooked.
Posted 10 January 2007 - 08:32 PM
Posted 10 January 2007 - 09:12 PM
I don't have a slew of sites that changed radically. One of my own and two others that I know of personally. I just checked all three and they're still doing fine. So for the moment with what I can see on those sites I'd lean towards a temporary hiccup if the 302's are still functioning correctly.
Do double check those to make sure they're delivering a 302 though. Stranger things have happened.
Posted 10 January 2007 - 09:15 PM
I really wish I had your problem at this point ewo. When i do a search for the entire title of a page I redirected, it shows up on page 2 or 3 of the results.
Posted 10 January 2007 - 09:41 PM
And they should, they moved, so the rankings should and do change. What you need to understand, from an SEO perspective, is when to use each redirect.
Stepping back a bit, to get some perspective, an SE has to store informatio about URLs that indicates:
1. URLS that are fine and work (200 response code).
2. Ones that redirect - to either make the new URL work, or make them essentially aliases for each other.
3. 404 errors - so they know NOT to crawl these URLs in the future.
4. Disallowed URLs (robots.txt, meta tags).
5. Dead domains/servers - i.e. servers that are dead, domains no longer active etc.
What you are dealing with is the second: redirected URLs, and how exactly an SE deals with each redirect is tricky and semantically specific.
A 302 is a redirect that says "this is over here, but check back cause I might change where to go". That means a 302 redirect isn't a permanent move, but a temporary one, and ideal for trascking links (AdWords etc) or when there is some doubt it will be permanent (home page redirect). Often, however, the URL redirected from is the more relvant URL for an SE, e.g. if www.example.com redirects to www.example.com/site/, then the plain domain is probably best. This causes SEs hadnling of redirects to var, more in response to practical (misuse) than any sort of strict sense.
A 301, OTOH, is permanent. It says "this URI is now and forever more over there". A 301, in SEO terms, is conjectured (and no one but an SE engineer really knows for sure) to make any references to an old URL the same as the new URL, i.e. when Google sees a link to www.example.com/s301-moved.html, it will assume that link instead points to www.example.com/whereiotnowis.html. This means that the benefit of the old page should be maintained in the index, as the two are essentially synonymous.
However, with the aging delay, new domains often have to wait to rank. This means that an old domains usefulness is lost for a period of time, until the new domain kicks in. Scottie recommended a 302 redirect, to keep the rankings until the aging is over, and then switch to a 301.
However, if the new URLs are all on the same domain, e.g. www.example.com/page1.html to www.example.com/our-department/, then a 301 is probably the best bet purely from an SEO perspective, as it is likely to maintain the old page's "assets" best.
Edited by projectphp, 10 January 2007 - 09:46 PM.
Posted 10 January 2007 - 10:08 PM
I seem to have a big problem that seems to stem from the redirect. This spells big trouble for me and my sales team. We are days away from the 4 month busy season and I cannot revert back to the old domain.
PPC here I come!
Posted 10 January 2007 - 10:57 PM
Posted 11 January 2007 - 06:47 AM
Is there only one redirect involved? Just the single 302 and nothing else? Check it to make sure something isn't happening on the server without your knowledge.
The reason I ask is that one of the easiest ways to overcome 302 hijacks if someone was doing it to you back in the day was to set up the page their were targeting to 301 back onto itself or another page in certain situations. Effectively causing the 301 override the 302 in the engines eyes because it was the last redirect before a legitimate 200 OK response was received.
Posted 13 January 2007 - 01:27 AM
Posted 13 January 2007 - 03:29 AM
Posted 13 January 2007 - 10:57 AM
Posted 13 January 2007 - 12:41 PM
Posted 13 January 2007 - 08:21 PM
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