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301 redirects are probably used much too often. They’re not bad in and of themselves, but if you employ them incorrectly, then it can hurt your SEO efforts. Do it right, however, and you won’t see any fall out.

Here are 3 popular redirect practices that I recommend you give up on right now:

  1. Redirecting To The Home Page – Webmasters often think that if they delete a page from their website, then they can just implement a 301 redirect of that page to the home page and all will be fine. It is likely, however, that the search engines will simply delete that page from their indexes and not pass any link juice as a result of that redirect. You are much better off redirecting to a related page or a category page.
  2. Redirecting To Non-relevant Pages – If you have a web page about changing spark plugs and you redirect to a page about oil changes, that’s less desirable than redirecting to a page about tune ups. As much as you can, you should redirect pages to similar pages or pages that can match content relevance as closely as possible.
  3. Redirecting To Another Domain – Cross-domain redirects are not as good as same-domain redirects. If you move your website to a new domain, try your best to redirect each page to the corresponding page on the new domain. Don’t redirect the entire site to the new domain’s home page.

Implementing 301 redirects is not rocket science, but you should do it with some preplanning and make sure you are redirecting pages to relevant pages on the right domain.

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