301 Redirects Rules Change: What You Need to Know for SEO

301 Redirects Rules Change: What You Need to Know for SEO

Posted by Cyrus-Shepard

Is it time to rewrite the SEO playbooks?

For what seems like forever, SEOs have operated by a set of best practices that dictate how to best handle redirection of URLs. (This is the practice of pointing one URL to another. If you need a quick refresher, here’s a handy guide on HTTP status codes.)

These tried and true old-school rules included:

  1. 301 redirects result in around a 15% loss of PageRank. Matt Cutts confirmed this in 2013 when he explained that a 301 loses the exact same amount of PageRank as a link from one page to another.
  2. 302s don’t pass PageRank. By definition, 302s are temporary. So it makes sense for search engines to treat them different.
  3. HTTPS migrations lose PageRank. This is because they typically involve lots of 301 redirects.

These represent big concerns for anyone who wants to change a URL, deal with an expired product page, or move an entire website.

The risk of losing traffic can mean that making no change at all becomes the lesser of two evils. Many SEOs have delayed site migrations, kept their URLs ugly, and have put off switching to HTTPS because of all the downsides of switching.

The New Rules of 3xx Redirection

Perhaps because of the downsides of redirection — especially with HTTPS — Google has worked to chip away at these axioms over the past several months.

  • In February, Google’s John Mueller announced that no PageRank is lost for 301 or 302 redirects from HTTP to HTTPS. This was largely seen as an effort by Google to increase webmaster adoption of HTTPS.
  • Google’s Gary Illyes told the SEO world that Google doesn’t care which redirection method you use, be it 301, 302, or 307. He explained Google will figure it out and they all pass PageRank.
  • Most recently, Gary Illyes cryptically announced on Twitter that 3xx (shorthand for all 300) redirects no longer lose PageRank at all.

Do these surprising changes mean all is well and good now?

Yes and no.

While these are welcome changes from Google, there are still risks and considerations when moving URLs that go way beyond PageRank. We’ll cover these in a moment.

First, here’s a diagram that attempts to explain the old concepts vs. Google’s new announcements.

Let’s cover some myths and misconceptions by answering common questions about redirection.

Q: Can I now 301 redirect everything without risk of losing traffic?

A: No

All redirects carry risk.

While it’s super awesome that Google is no longer “penalizing” 301 redirects through loss of PageRank, keep in mind that PageRank is only one signal out of hundreds that Google uses to rank pages.

Ideally, if you 301 redirect a page to an exact copy of that page, and the only thing that changes is the URL, then in theory you may expect no traffic loss with these new guidelines.

That said, the more moving parts you introduce, the more things start to get hairy. Don’t expect to your redirects to non-relevant pages to carry much, if any, weight. Redirecting your popular Taylor Swift fan page to your affiliate marketing page selling protein powder is likely dead in the water.

In fact, Glenn Gabe recently uncovered evidence that Google treats redirects to irrelevant pages as soft 404s. In other words, it’s a redirect that loses both link equity and relevance.

See: How to Completely Ruin (or Save) Your Website With Redirects

Q: Is it perfectly safe to use 302 for everything instead of 301s?

A: Again, no

A while back we heard that the reason Google started treating 302 (temporary) redirects like 301s (permanent) is that so many websites were implementing the wrong type (302s when they meant 301s), that it caused havoc on how Google ranked pages.

The problem is that while we now know that Google passes PageRank though 302s, we still have a few issues. Namely:

  1. We don’t know if 301s and 302s are equal in every way. In the past, we’ve seen 302s eventually pass PageRank, but only after considerable time has passed. In contrast to 301s that pass link signals fairly quickly, we don’t yet know how 302s are handled in this manner.
  2. 302 is a web standard, and Google isn’t the only player on the block. 302s are meant to indicate a temporary redirect, and it’s quite possible that other search engines (Baidu, Bing, DuckDuckGo) and social services (Facebook, Twitter, etc) treat 302s differently than Google.

Rand Fishkin summed it up nicely.

Q: If I migrate my site to HTTPS, will I keep all my traffic?

A: Maybe

Here’s the thing about HTTPS migrations: they’re complicated.

A little backstory. Google wants the entire web to switch to HTTPS. To this end, they announced a small rankings boost to encourage sites to make the switch.

The problem was that a lot of webmasters weren’t willing to trade a tiny rankings boost for the 15% loss in link equity they would experience by 301 redirecting their entire site. This appears to be the reason Google made the switch to 301s not losing PageRank.

Even without PageRank issues, HTTPS migrations can be incredibly complicated, as Wired discovered to their dismay earlier this year. It’s been over a year since we migrated Moz.com, and we’re glad we did, but there were lots of moving parts in play and the potential for lots of things to go wrong. So as with any big project, be aware of the risks as well as the rewards.

Case study: Does it work?

Unknowingly, I had the chance to test Google’s new 3xx PageRank rules when migrating a small site a few months ago. (While we don’t know when Google made the change, it appears it’s been in place for awhile now.)

This particular migration not only moved to HTTPS, but to an entirely new domain as well. Other than the URLs, every other aspect of the site remained exactly the same: page titles, content, images, everything. That made it the perfect test.

Going in, I fully expected to see a drop in traffic due to the 15% loss in PageRank. Below in the image, you can see what actually happened to my traffic.

Instead of a decline as expected, traffic actually saw a boost after the migration. Mind. Blown. This could possibly be from the small boost that Google gives HTTPS sites, though we can’t be certain.

Certainly this one small case isn’t enough to prove decisively how 301s and HTTPS migrations work, but it’s a positive sign in the right direction.

The New Best Practices

While it’s too early to write the definitive new best practices, there are a few salient points to keep in mind about Google’s change to how PageRank passes through 3xx redirects.

  1. All redirects carry a degree of SEO risk.
  2. While 3xx redirects preserve PageRank, 301s remain the preferred method of choice for permanent redirects. (It is unknown if search engines treat all redirects equally)
  3. Keep in mind that PageRank — and other link equity signals — are only a portion of the factors used by Google in ranking web pages.
  4. Beyond PageRank, all other rules about redirection remain. If you redirect to a non-relevant page, or buy a website in order to redirect 1,000 pages to your homepage, you likely won’t see much of a boost.
  5. The best redirect is where every other element stays the same, as much as possible, except for the URL.
  6. Successful migrations to HTTPS are now less prone to lose PageRank, but there are many other crawling and indexing issues that may negatively impact traffic+rankings.
  7. Changing URLs for SEO purposes, including…
    • Removing multiple query parameters
    • Improving directory/subfolder structure
    • Including keywords in the URL
    • Making URLs human-readable

    … is less risky now that 3xx redirects preserve PageRank. That said, always proceed with caution when redirecting.

When in doubt, see Best Practice #1.

Happy redirecting!

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Let Google be your guide to Rio de Janeiro

Let Google be your guide to Rio de Janeiro
The modern Olympic Games have been a defining moment for athletes and fans alike dating back to 1896. Next week, the 2016 cauldron will be lit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where thousands of athletes will come together to represent the strength and pride of their home countries with the world as their audience.

In celebration of the next chapter in Olympics history, we’re bringing the best our products have to offer to help people around the world stay up-to-date with the Olympic Games Rio 2016:

  • Discover the event schedule, medal counts, and athlete information in Search
  • Get results and view TV schedules in 30+ countries
  • Watch official broadcasters’ event highlights on YouTube in 60+ countries
  • Explore Rio and venues in Google Maps
  • Keep up to date with the latest search Trends from around the world

On Google, searching for information about your favorite athletes and sports, the medal race, or your country’s schedule has never been easier. Pro tip: if you search on the Google app on Android and iOS, you’ll also see an option to get automatic updates on top event and medal wins, so you’ll never miss a beat.

To give you a glimpse into the Games, watch official broadcasters’ video highlights on YouTube in more than 60 countries around the world. And as an added bonus, YouTube is sending 15 top creators to Rio, giving you a taste of what it’s like to be there with mobile live streaming.

With Street View in Google Maps, everyone can enjoy the magic of Rio de Janeiro. Even if you’re a world away, preview the places where the world’s most talented athletes will make history and explore the breathtaking beauty of Brazil.

Google Trekker operator captures 360-degree imagery from inside Rio’s Olympic Park

Great triumphs, victories and stunning surprises await us all this summer. This is just a hint of what’s to come—we hope you’ll let Google be your guide.

Posted by Jonathan Livni, Product Manager

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Ego Is The Enemy With Ryan Holiday – This Week’s Six Pixels Podcast

Ego Is The Enemy With Ryan Holiday - This Week's Six Pixels Podcast

Episode #525 of Six Pixels of Separation – The Mirum Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to.

Some know Ryan Holiday as a media strategist, while others know him as a PR machine. Others know him as a speaker, and some know him as a bestselling author. Recently, it seems, Ryan has decided to focus on being a thoughtful non-fiction writer. His efforts have been paying off. His latest book, Ego Is The Enemy, has quickly become a huge bestseller. His last book, The Obstacle Is The Way, exploded as well, as many professional athletes (especially in the NFL) latched on to his modern take on stoicism. It may not seem obvious, but Ryan is looking back on an ancient form of philosophy and modernizing it with amazing insights for people today. How did he make this happen? What do brands (and business professionals) need to know about this? It’s important and it matters. What is holding us back? How do we think about ourselves, others and the work that we do? Are social media and technology making us the worst people possible? Ryan’s first book was, Trust Me I’m Lying, and his second book was, Growth Hacker Marketing. He’s also a contributor to the New York Observer and many more. Many people consider Ryan to be one of the brightest thinkers in business today. I agree. Enjoy the conversation…

You can grab the latest episode of Six Pixels of Separation here (or feel free to subscribe via iTunes): Six Pixels of Separation – The Mirum Podcast #525.

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3 Social Media Marketing Tools You Should Try

3 Social Media Marketing Tools You Should Try

3 Social Media Marketing Tools You Should Try | Social Media TodaySocial media marketing tools can make your life easier… or more complicated if you get bogged down with trying too many tools or thinking you need to use them all.

After experimenting with a new social media marketing tool, ask yourself if it performs better than a similar tool you’re already using. If one of your current tools can be replaced with a new one that’s better, then go for it without anxiety – there’s no need to hold onto a tool that no longer serves you.

It’s also important to regularly try out new social media marketing apps, because you may find one that saves you more time or money.

Here are three social media marketing tools that are worth taking a look at.

1. Socedo

3 Social Media Marketing Tools You Should Try | Social Media TodaySocedo is a B2B social media lead generation tool. You’ve probably heard of lead generation tools, but this one focuses on deriving leads from social networks. Socedo helps you discover, engage, and qualify potential customers on social media. This saves you a lot of time while increasing the number of leads in your funnel – and more leads in your funnel results in increased revenue if you have a good conversion process in place.

You can program Socedo to find leads on social media that match your buyer persona, so you don’t have to worry about targeting the wrong people. Socedo also checks if they’ve shown an interest in your niche to send the most relevant leads your way.

2. Edgar

3 Social Media Marketing Tools You Should Try | Social Media TodayIf you follow any influencers in your industry, you’ve probably noticed that they repost older content multiple times. There’s good reason for this – reposting your content several times – or even 50 times over the course of a year – enables you to get the most out of your work. New people have followed you in the week since you made that particular post, and the odds are they haven’t seen it yet. By posting it again, your new followers have the chance to see the content.

What does this have to do with Edgar? Edgar’s a social media marketing tool that automates the process of re-sharing your previous social posts. What makes Edgar such a good tool is it analyzes the best times to repost the content too, so you don’t have to figure it out yourself. After resubmitting an old post, Edgar sends the content back to the bottom of the queue where it waits for the perfect time to post again. Edgar is a very convenient tool that saves you time on social media.

3. Canva

3 Social Media Marketing Tools You Should Try | Social Media TodayMore well-known than Socedo and Edgar, Canva is the third social media marketing tool you should try. Canva’s a graphic creation tool that simplifies the process of creating images for your social media and website. They have premade templates for every popular social media site that come in the optimal size for that particular social network. It only takes a few seconds to a few minutes to create a great image with Canva. Even the most artistically-impaired person can create a decent graphic with Canva.

Conclusion

If you don’t have much time to spend on trying new social media marketing tools, then the three I recommend are Socedo, Edgar, and Canva. All three of these tools are designed to help you save time while handling an important aspect of your business, including lead generation, content repurposing, and image creation. Each of these tools also stands out from other tools that perform similar processes.

This post originally appeared on The Fried Side blog.

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Body Politics of Fashion in Social

Body Politics of Fashion in Social

Body Politics of Fashion in Social | Social Media TodayThe body politic of fashion is showing its grit in social media.

Scarce are designers in the exclusive world of fashion who possess the acumen, aesthetics and assurance to challenge the industry’s myopic tenets of beauty by championing body diversity and inclusion.

Enter American designer Christian Siriano, refreshing fashion outlier who unwittingly, perhaps, has prompted a debate in social media that challenges a largely taboo social issue – female image and self-confidence.  Brands like Dove’s Real Beauty campaign, now in its 16th year, have challenged body stereotyping in pioneering global campaigns.

Owing to his body positivity mantra, New York designer Christian Siriano – known for his couture fantasy gowns and as a successful Project Runway winner – is fast becoming somewhat of a standard bearer for diverse body and age-defying couture fashion, and in the process, shunning an industry’s staid and stultifying notions of female beauty.

Siriano has also been diversifying the Red Carpet, attracting women of all sizes, statures, age and race, including celebrities Lady Gaga, Heidi Klum, Christina Hendricks, Zendaya and Oprah.

As the brand prospers at a faster pace than competitors, Siriano continues to experiment, with new collaborations. Among his most recent, a capsule collection for plus-size Lane Bryant and a bridal collection for Kleinfeld.

In an industry ruled by exclusivity where body image is mercilessly scrutinized, body shaming has escalated to a malevolent sport in social media. Exclusivity, as promulgated by the industry, perpetuates stereotypical beauty values, whose unrealistic and unattainable ideals further feed the vicious cycle of debased female self-esteem.

To his credit, Siriano has recently enjoyed a well-deserved embrace of social media love. He is arguably in the vanguard of redefining femininity and feminism in fashion aesthetics, countervailing industry doctrines of exclusivity.

“My mission now is what we’re calling that ‘everywoman,'” says Siriano. “You can be any size, any age, and wear something from our collection, and that’s so important to me.”

Recently, bucking industry practices and in the spirit of inclusivity, Siriano stepped in with a Twitter hand wave emoticon to rescue Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones from the dearth of offers from other designers to dress her for the premiere. Debunking the “specious arguments” that designers need months to fashion a gown, Siriano, with fewer resources than many designers, customized a gown for Jones in just over a week.

The Twitter response was effusive, analyzed in the NetBase cloud below.

Body Politics of Fashion in Social | Social Media Today

Localspeak analyzed Siriano’s gesture in the social analytics platform NetBase. Filtering key insights to capture “body diversity,” “inclusion,” “body positivity,” and like conversations over 27 months, revealed an exponential surge in potential impressions (37.5 million) during the past month alone.

Remarkably, during a single month Siriano’s inclusive gesture captured one-third of total 27-month potential impressions filtered for the “inclusion” insight. This surpassed the brand’s social media reach for any other period in the 27-month analysis (99 million potential impressions) when filtered for this insight.

By comparison, when the “inclusion” insights is removed for the same 27-month period, the NetBase data shows that Siriano’s total potential impressions reach peaked during the same month. A sign that Siriano has his finger on a hot social issue in fashion. Take note, Christian, you are shaking things up in social. 

Further evidence that Siriano has entered the political arena was witnessed at the Democratic National Convention, where Michelle Obama, in a passionate speech embracing diversity and inclusion, chose to wear one of the designer’s dresses.

The veil of infamy of fashion exclusion is being lifted, if ever so slightly, as social media scrutiny, and outrage, at the lack of diversity and inclusion becomes a major social issue in the body politic of an industry. By raising the bar, social media has become the great equalizer in fashion, pressuring labels to act responsibly. Brand love in social media is now a palpable criteria in marketing success.

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