3 SEO Trends in 2019 You Need to Follow to See Success.

I’ve been monitoring trends in SEO for many years. There’s consistently been 3 core things that have been shown to be most important year after year.

These 3 are:

  • The ability for a site to produce content as often as possible.
  • The ability for a site and person/s to produce high quality content.
  • Focus on sharing the content on social media and emails to get shares, follows and backlinks.

If any website follows these 3 things, not only will they see massive expansion, rankings and traffic in 2019, but I would absolutely bet them good money that they will also see the same trends and success next year too.

Let me isolate and break down each of these things and explain what you need to do this year so each one of them be maximized and see the best results from:

Trend #1: The ability for a site to produce content as often as it can.

If you look at this particular one and see how it’s evolved, you will see that year after year, the quota for content on a site has grown. 

Let’s take websites in 2005 as a starting point:

You could very easily have made 1 page websites at the time, and ranked them on Google back then, and quickly. I certainly did this and even abused it (there was nothing illegal going on, it’s just how the ranking game worked back then).

If you knew how to rank sites back then, trust me, you could have made a lot of money, quite easily with SEO. And I certainly did that in my case.

But then let’s jump 1, 2, 5, 10 and even 14 years to 2019. What changed?

Well to rank a single page website for competitive keywords is nearly impossible now.

Only a site that has at least 30, 50 or even a 100 pages on it will do well today. Now notice how that trend that evolved:

SEO now requires FAR more work (content production) for a high ranking website.

This is one of the reasons why there has been a huge market growth and demand for freelance writers, because site owners who wish to get great rankings, need help for others to produce content for them so they can rank higher.

And that costs money, a lot sometimes.

Now this may have you wonder if today, in 2019, can a single person (with a small or no budget) make a large website and produce a lot of content all by themselves?

The answer is yes, but if you do not follow the 5 tips I’m going to give you, then you are likely not going to get anywhere with SEO, this year or any year:

Trend #2: Producing content is good, but it’s the quality of it that truly determines SEO success.

Let me ask you this…

If I were to tell you that 2 bloggers created websites on the same topic, and one had 30 blog posts, and the other a 100, but the person with the 30 was able to get more rankings, more traffic and more success from SEO. 

You would probably wonder how that’s possible. After all, we did just look at the first trend and I did clearly state that content production is one of the MAIN ones to focus on. 

Yet this one kind of contradicts it no? Well not quite.

Content production and quality goes hand and hand when it comes to rankings and if you look at how this has developed over the years, you will find that there is also a correlation going on…

Again, let’s look back at 2005 (And I am using that year because that’s when I began):

The same people who knew that 1 page websites were enough to rank high were able to make these same sites in hours if not minutes. And with only a few 100 words, they typically didn’t need to do much to get results.

Now the correlation you found during this time, was that people who produced content in mass amounts, also produced low quality content. You commonly found people abusing this easy way of doing SEO and selling their products, spamming people with cheap tactics and doing stuff that basically lowered the confidence of the reader (and search engine trust).

As the trend of writing more content to get better rankings rose, so did the need to improve the quality of it. Now quality can be interpreted subjectively by people, but the best way for me to describe it is…

Usually honesty on the part of the blogger who is writing mixed with good feedback from the reader is what determines the level of quality of content…

And it’s the blogger who creates more of this on their site that gets better feedback from Google, readers and thus rankings. Trust me, you will know a good blog when you land on it. You’ll see tons of comments, tons of likes, all of that and guess what? It’s all a sign of good, and great quality stuff.

This is why the person with the lesser content on their blog can outrank the one who has more of it. Now just as I did before, allow me to offer you 5 tips to maximize your success with this VERY important trend:

Trend #3: Expand your site’s reach with social media, but do it intelligently.

Social media does have an important role to play with SEO trends.

Stuff gets shared today more than ever before, so naturally if you do things like create great content and make it easily “sharable” on the main social media networks, you are likely to get people sharing it and thus driving more people to your site in the process. More on that here.

Now there is another side to this trend and that is that as important as social media is to your site, it’s truly secondary in my experience to the first 2 things. Unless you are some sort of celebrity and have great status online or followers, you will likely have to work a lot, build up your site and then engage in social media to get success from it.

Most unknown people and that would be just about 99% of people who do SEO, make a huge mistake when starting out on trying to market their site on social media TOO much, to people who frankly don’t care or know about them. 

The way to truly make this trend work best for you is to create a following from the incoming visitors to your site through SEO and then build a following from those visitors to then share your content with. That is how it’s supposed to be done.

You may notice that I have a Facebook fan page on this site (look to the right). I’m slowly building my following up this exact same way I’m talking about in this trend, but you will also notice that I don’t really care so much about this, because again, I have to tell you that focusing on trends 1 and 2 is where you will truly see success.

Think about it…

If you focus on the first 2 things above, and get to say 100 visitors a day, you can get 3,000 of them a month. Then by providing a way for those 3,000 visitors to follow you on various social media networks, you can stay in touch with them.

Suppose 10% of these 3,000 people (300) start following you on 2-3 networks. You can then share your content with them there and get them to like and share it. They may also email others about it and share it on their social networks, providing you with decent backlinks to your site.

Now consider the growth you can experience if you keep growing this following month after month. From 300 followers in month 1, you can keep getting more and more and get 1,000’s by the year’s end. Imagine the reach you’d have then through social media. It would be a lot.

But once again, this can be accomplished by getting to that point through the first 2 trends and then doing social media networking, not the other way around.

One of the ways I’ve made this work very well for me was that on another site I own, I refer people into a network where I teach them these same things I’m talking about here and over the years, my subscriber base has risen to over 30,000 followers (it’s not on any major social media channel, but it doesn’t matter, because these followers are pretty active for me):

This is how SEO evolves and it’s how it will continue to evolve.

Year after year, these 3 have been the ones that have stayed consistent in terms of how important they are and they have only grown. I am 100% certain that in 2019 these 3 things will and should be the main focus for any blogger and SEO person. 

And I am also 100% sure that if you focus on these 3 things correctly, that your blog and site will success way beyond 2019. In fact, when people try to tell me that SEO is dead, they just don’t understand the trends surrounding it, but it’s because I do (and shared them here with you) that my sites can and do grow.

And just to erase any doubt on whether what I’m saying here is theory, let me tell you that since 2005, I’ve made numerous sites that have gotten great rankings (my background in this), by following the same exact tips listed above for each trend. This is what I’ll be doing moving forward in 2019 and you should be too.

How to Choose an Awesome Domain Name For Great SEO Results.

Choosing a domain name that sounds awesome and is also great for SEO is tough, mainly because of all the myths you may have heard. So how do you decide?

Well, here’s a rule regarding picking out domain names (DN) I’ve been following for years:

how to choose a domain name for seo

I want to leave the comments section open for this, because I get a lot of questions from people who are undecided on what DN to pick, so if you’re still undecided after reading this whole article, let me know what ideas you are considering and I’ll help you make the choice.

That being said…

Here’s 5 rumors/myths about domain names (DN) and SEO we need to clear up:

1) I have to choose an EMD (Exact match domain).

In case this is the first time you’ve heard of an EMD, the basic premise of it is that you find a keyword with a large search volume, then make a DN that is literally that same keyword. For example:

what is an exact match domain

As a result, it is believed that EMD’s rank higher on search engines, because the DN of the site matches a highly targeted keyword, so it gets extra weight for SEO.

Is this true?

Not exactly. Many years ago, YES, this was a real thing that indeed had positive SEO results for those who practiced it. But no longer. Let me explain why:

The SEO value a website has comes down to 100’s of different things, and it’s DN is honestly a minuscule part. It is so minuscule that… 

If we took 2 people, who each made 1 site on the same subject, both targeted the same keyword, but one chose the EMD approach, while the other, chose something different, such as my approach, then in the beginning, the person with the EMD would rank higher, and that’s solely based on the fact that at first, both sites would be blank essentially, with no content on them and when Google would look at both sites, and see that they are blank, they’d give the EMD one a higher position over the other site because at least it has 1 of the many ranking factors.

But as soon as the person without the EMD starts adding content to his site and targets the same keyword, he will outrank the EMD site quite easily, so what I’m going back to is the main point about how little EMD’s matter in the long run.

So don’t worry about that awesome keyword you found with high search volumes, you can name your site pretty much anything, then just write an article on the site, with the meta title being that awesome keyword you found and you will get ranked for that, that’s really it. 

In short, in my professional experience, don’t go the EMD route UNLESS all of the content and pages you write on the site are related to the DN. For example:

good bad emd

2) I have to buy an expired domain.

This is also a rumor with some merit to it, but there’s so little of it that there are far more cons to going this route. In short, this doesn’t work for SEO (reasons explained here).

The idea behind it is that domains overtime accrue favor ability from Google and if that domain gets sold and the buyer starts writing content on it, it will already have the SEO weight behind it to rank faster and higher.

That and the fact that many good sounding, and even brandable DN often get bought up and basically “ransomed” to the highest bidder makes them favorable too. 

So is this true?

While in my opinion, there used to be truth to an expired domain holding higher SEO value than a new, fresh one, there are many domains which are sold by people that have a bad history with Google, such as perhaps, it was engaged in negative SEO and then, with that red mark, they are put up for sale without disclosing this, so the next buyer gets a tainted site basically, without knowing it.

My whole position on this is that it’s not worth worrying about buying that “perfect DN” or aged one, because it is almost impossible to know what was going on with it before you purchased it, and this SEO myth has been debunked as well.

I take the safe route here and advise not doing this.

3) I need to get a .com.

As website creation is growing in numbers, so too is the number of people buying up DN and it increasing at such a rapid pace that more and more “gTLD’s” are being released, which are basically domain extensions, beyond just .com’s. Here is an article on gTLDs from Wikipedia.

I will be completely honest here in saying that if you take 2 sites with the same exact subject, but one has a .com and the other has something unusual such as a .pro, that even something as uncommon as a .pro can outrank the .com if the content quality is of higher value on the .pro site than it is on the .com site.

Google itself has also released it’s official position on gTLD’s that you can read about here and they basically say the same thing.

However, while there is basically no SEO points awarded to a gTLD/a site’s extension, I will say that the content quality is what truly defines the site’s success for SEO, so while the message you could take from this is that you can go crazy and pick out whatever extension you want (it’s the right interpretation), my habit and advice would still be to chase the more known extensions, starting with a .com and then working your way down the extension ladder, with the next ones being a .net and then a .org.

I’m not a fan of the .pro, .guru or any other unknown or unpopular gTLD’s. As of this time, I would never make a site with those extensions, nor recommend that a client I am doing SEO work for would either, and that is because the people who view the site still inherently see the value a .com over the other, unknown extensions. 

If you can’t get that awesome site title, be open minded enough to go for a completely different name. Do not waste too much time infatuated with one DN and nothing else, you can rank any site, for any keyword in the end, regardless of the DN, remember that.

4) I need it to be brandable. 

The more serious you are about building a website for business purposes, even if it is a blog, the more brandable I would recommend you make your domain and also more simple sounding. What I mean by brandable is:

domain name tips

My website’s name, HelpingHandSEO.com is an example of these 4 principals in action.

If you can grow a website to a point where people can easily remember it’s name, they will eventually Google it and tell others about it, which will cause them to Google it too.

Eventually, you can create a brand out of the site, by having masses remember it and this can literally cause your site’s name to become a keyword. This is actually one of the goals I am aiming for with mine.

And ironically, that site may eventually become an EMD itself (because it’ll become a popular keyword on Google), but it’ll sound great, it’ll be original and it’ll be yours, which is a whole different dynamic that’s better. A person I know who sells SEO services, created a company that grew so much that people actually look for the company name on Google a lot.

Note: If you are not building your own brand, I would not recommend you pick a website name that uses another company’s brand name as it’s domain. This MAY cause trademark issues (it doesn’t often happen) and I would avoid that problem altogether by just picking something unique.

5) It needs to use my name.

You can go 50/50 here. If you are not famous or don’t have a large social media following or large following at all, then I would not do this. You first need to create a following, and lots of people need to know you and what you are all about before you create a DN that is literally your name.

Celebrities can do this, but if you aren’t one, I wouldn’t do it, especially if your name is hard to remember, go the other route first (with the 4 principals above), create a following, then decide if you want to start a new site, with your name being in the domain.

For example…

My full name is Vitaliy Gershfeld. I’m likely NOT going to make a DN anytime soon with my full name being that, because let’s be honest, who is going to remember that name, let alone how to spell it?

I’d rather build up my brand and my name THROUGH the website I currently run here (It’s so much easier to remember no?), and that will provide a better way for people to recognize it, as well as remember me, and who knows, perhaps sooner or later, if a big enough following pops up, I may just end up making a new DN with my name in it.

Ok, so when I’m ready, where should I buy my domain?

There’s tons of domain registrars to choose from but lately (actually for a few years), I’ve been buying mine from Wealthy Affiliate, as their deals are best.

Here is the official page and explanation of the benefits their registrar holds over the other places and like I said, nowadays, I buy all of my sites through them.

First you’d need to sign up with them for free, then you’d get the option to buy the site with all the benefits. The only other registrar I’ve dealt with before WA was GoDaddy.com, no longer though.

How Often Does Google Crawl my Site? 3 Ways to Make it Faster.

How often your site gets crawled by Google varies and it’s mainly based on how often you post content on it and it’s age. 

how often does google crawl my website

Let me explain it this way…

1) Any page that is over 6 months old and posts content daily will likely get crawled at least once a day if not more often.

2) Any page that is under 6 months old and posts content every few days, once a week or less frequently will probably get crawled once every few days.

3) And any page that is under 6 months old but posts content daily will also get crawled once every few days.

Now most people who start a website are likely going to to be in positions 2 or 3 (for at least 6 months) and the ideal state to be in is position 1, where it happens daily.

But this takes time and I’m going to show you ways to increase how often your pages get crawled if you’re in positions 2 and 3 and there’s 3 main methods I’ll be discussing.

Why this topic is a big deal for SEO…

The general belief and understanding among people doing SEO is that the more often Google visits a page and crawls it, the more it has a chance to rank it better. There is truth to this. 

However, there’s more to ranking than just this (other ranking factors). But in any case, like I said before, I will show you how you can literally control how often Google visits your page and how to intelligently play this game so that you really get the best SEO results your page can get.

Enter the 3 options…

The 3 ways explained:

1) The first way is the fastest and that is through the URL Inspect tool through Webmaster Tools, which you can learn more about here.

It’ll allow you get crawled (it’s also referred to as spiders visiting your page) within an hour, even for existing content.

So with this, you can literally MANUALLY control how often your page gets crawled with up to 500 fetches a month allowed. I highly recommend using the (and personally use) the URL inspection tool whenever you publish new content.

And just as much, you should also be using this SEO tool to inspect old content you update.

2) The second is submitting a sitemap through Webmaster Tools. This is the second fastest option which you can leave alone after it’s set up. Instructions.

3) And the third is literally just posting content regularly. And your page can then get crawled very often, even a few times a day. Like I said above, publishing frequency affects crawling frequency. And doing that at least once a day is excellent. You can also update and republish old content and that will also count just as well.

This is the most hands on approach out of the 3 and it certainly requires the most work, but without it, the other 2 options above won’t really have as much of an impact.

The ideal way to use these methods:

The ideal solution is to publish new content daily, and/or update and republish old content daily (These are SEO ranking tips I advise), and URL inspect it daily through webmaster tools, especially if your website is under 6 months old, which is a number you have seen me mention numerous times above.

The reason I keep saying 6 months is because there exists a sandbox period which usually lasts this long and after it’s passed, the site will generally get crawled more often. Before that period hits, you should be manually using these 3 options to affect your crawling frequency.

The crawling process explained (in case you’re new to this term):

First, let me say that Google has it’s own explanation of how it applies this method to pages, which you can read about here.

But while that link/page I pointed to focuses on the general start to finish process and doesn’t really mention the frequency (how often) at which it sends spiders to your page.

So I’d like to explain my experiences with this process, since I’ve had years of experience seeing it from beginning to end and the general frequencies that I noticed go on, from the very beginning when you’re just starting the page, to the later periods where that page is huge, getting traffic and more…

When you start your website…

And it’s first post, even if you do not use any of the above 3 methods, you may find that may take up to a few weeks for that first post to be crawled, after which usually, the index happens. It’s annoying, but it’s the regular SEO process all new sites experience.

However, if you are the sort of person who posts content very frequently (good for you!), you will find that Google will send it’s spiders back to your page more and more often, usually proportional to your posting rate.

And to be honest, this is what you want, if rankings and SEO improvement is what you are seeking to get. It’s just not an easy thing to do, take it from me.

So generally speaking, posting once a day, will likely get your site crawled at least once a day as well like I said before. There are other factors, such as interlinking and backlinking playing a part, social shares having an impact and more.

2 of the 3 methods above (fetching and using sitemaps) are truly a speedier way to get that first crawl, for fresh content going and I would absolutely advise you use them when your page is still new. 

The Google dance also plays a role in how often crawling happens…

I have a post that in my opinion “brilliantly” (I don’t like bragging, but it’s really a good article) describes the Google dance process and breaks it down into 3 (tier) stages.

You should read that article to understand why it goes on (why rankings go up and down) and why after you hit tier 3 status with your site, that you’ll get crawled, indexed and ranked way faster than in the first 2 tiers.

Let me put it this way:

Tier 1 lasts for about 1-2 months. During this time, the spiders rarely visit new pages. Probably about as rarely as I mentioned above (a few weeks sometimes), but you should still be posting new content and using the fetch option for ever new, fresh piece of content posted, to get it those spiders coming into your page ASAP and it’ll save you a ton of time (it can add up to months saved, literally!).

Tier 2 is going to be where your page is at during months 3 and 4 and you will get crawled more often (if you keep the peddle on the content going). Here, you may get spiders coming to the page within a few days of each new post you put up. Again, I advise using the fetch tool here to also cut down on the waiting time.

Tier 3 is where your page is out of the sandbox which is a “timeout” period for new sites when they first start their SEO process and try to rank on Google. Your page WILL be in the sandbox during tiers 1 and 2, keep that in mind, but again, the fetching will really help out A LOT.

Now when tier 3 hits, you can expect to get spiders visiting the page very often, including DAILY and even a few times a day. It is during this period that I would recommend not using the fetch tool unless you are using it for new content that you just made. For old content posted, the increased frequency of spiders visiting the page will handle that on it’s own. 

In fact, if you have a sitemap set up (option 2), that will itself regulate things and help your old content rise. In other words, let the old content get visited by spiders automatically, but use the first option (fetching) for new content created.

When you want old content to get crawled faster.

Certain old posts of yours (in fact many) will likely not get high rankings overtime, no matter how times they get Google spiders coming in.

But if you are doing SEO, you’ll likely want to get ALL your posts ranked as high as they can, but if that’s not happening to the old ones, here’s what you’ll want to do:

Optimize old posts using these 15 tips I listed. Then either wait (pretty much option 3) for that new piece of content to get those spiders OR do another URL inspection for the newly updated article/post and see if that helps rankings improve.

You will WANT to get old content crawled by the spiders ONLY when there are improvements made to that content, such as more comments added, more content added, or should I say, more GREAT content added and that’s when you will WANT Google to take another look at it.

Note: It’ll do that on it’s own, but again, URL inspecting expedites that process, just use it wisely when it’s truly worth using.

And only do this for truly old posts (we’re talking posts that are several months old) that are not seeing ANY improvement in SEO rankings.

For ones that are a few weeks old, it doesn’t really help to re-fetch those as they are already in the process of going through rankings (so if you fetch those, you may actually restart the ranking process and ironically, slow down the results). It’s the really old posts that have stalled in SEO, that you want to ping Google to take a look at again.

Overall, here’s the summarized info:

In the end, crawling content should be manually controlled on your end when it’s freshly made and published. Have a sitemap on Webmaster Tools and use fetch for newly published posts.

As for old posts, leave them alone and let Google send the spiders to them on it’s own, as they will do it regularly, IF you are growing your page regularly.

Only manually make spiders visit your page (aka use fetch) if an old post is not getting better rankings in Google, and only do that after a few months have passed for the said post/s and if you did the 10 optimization tips I linked above.

Is Free Web Hosting Bad For Your Site’s SEO? It Might be.

Good web hosting is one of the many important ranking factors for SEO and generally speaking, the free kind is usually the worst, so it can be bad for rankings.

The most important thing to note about this topic is that if you want to get better SEO results, one of the core things your site needs is to load up quickly when Google crawls it and/or when someone visits it from a computer or phone. That requires at least decent hosting.

If you currently own a site and want to know if your current plan is working well for you in regards to loading speed, head over to Google’s speed test site and see what score it gives you.

Anything green is fine, anything yellow requires improvement and anything red definitely means you need improvement or should change and/or upgrade your plan or service ASAP.

Naturally, the slower it loads, the worse it is. And usually the truly free places are the ones which have a lot of people trying to make tons of sites on it, often overloading the servers and possibly breaking them down. 

This usually leads to situations of down times happening more frequently and/or in most cases, slower loading times, all of which have a negative affect on SEO. There’s just less reliability with those places.

Now this doesn’t mean that ALL free web hosting services are slow or bad in quality, but you have to understand that those places and services, generally do not carry the highest level of value.

Some exceptions exist:

The only real exceptions you have to this general rule are sub domain providers where you can get free domains WITH hosting included and those generally have a decent reputation. However, because they are sub domains, you don’t fully own it and that carries it’s own risk.

Plus places that allow you to make sub domains for no cost also have a monetary incentive to upgrade you to a better plan so they can make up the costs of offering those free services.

And that’s actually not a bad thing, but you have to understand that hosting page/s, require server/s, resources, time and more, and this costs money, so the costs have to be made somehow.

Places like WordPress and WiX are actually decent places to find free plans, but you will probably get better results if you pay a little bit for places like NameCheap.com, Hostgator.com and Wealthy Affiliate as those 3 examples, generally offer great plans for low costs and provide pretty decent services.

I personally use Wealthy Affiliate, as it actually carries free web hosting for many pages. However, I pay $49 for their monthly membership as they provide more than just that service, and that cost helps cover that added service. That indirect payment I make covers good quality hosting (learn more here).

Should I get free or paid hosting? 4 things to consider:

The following 5 things are circumstances you may currently find yourself in with regards to your page, and depending on the situation, I will provide a clear answer on which way to go:

1) I am just starting out with a page. I have no big intentions with it.

In that case, go with WordPress and set up a free blog there. If you have no major intentions with your page and don’t even care about SEO, this is where I would start.

2) I have serious intentions to make my page succeed with SEO. 

I would definitely advise getting a paid plan in this case, as well as a domain you pay for. In this case, I’d probably advise you go with Wealthy Affiliate since they’ll give you everything here: SEO training, a cheap domain and free hosting (which is actually high quality because the membership has a monthly cost). 

3) I plan to make a small page and want it do well in SEO.

I’d actually also go with Wealthy Affiliate here, since they actually provide a free (starter) service in addition to their paid one, but the first, starter option lets you have a sub domain that is hosted and it’s of pretty decent quality since it doesn’t have as many people using it as other big name places that can overload it. More on the starter plan here.

4) I plan to make a very big page.

In that case, you absolutely need to go with a paid option. Generally people who overload their sites with images, graphics, videos, content and basically anything that increase it’s size in memory, means it will put more pressure on the server/s to load it up, so generally speaking, a paid plan will ensure you get a higher quality service that helps all of that load fast.

I would still recommend Wealthy Affiliate (the paid upgrade) in this case if you can’t really afford a $50-$100 a month hosting plan, but if you can, go with the more expensive ones.

3 takeaways from the above scenarios:

If you have still have any reservations about the tips above and don’t know what to pick, here’s my general guidance:

1) If there’s no serious intent with the page you’re going to make, perhaps you’re just messing around with the idea, go with Wealthy Affiliate’s starter plan, you’ll get a great service and the option to upgrade and/or make something of that page later on (such as SEO) will be open.

2) If you do not see yourself doing SEO and just want to blog for fun, set up a blogger or WordPress page and just use that service.

3) If you have serious intent for SEO, making a big page, either go with Wealthy Affiliate’s premium service, get training to make it all succeed, OR if you already know what you’re doing and are going to make a truly huge, hard to load site, get expensive hosting to make sure it doesn’t let you down. This service is pretty good.

Even though I’ve been doing SEO for a long time, no matter how big my sites have gotten, I have personally never really had a need to go for the most expensive, highest quality hosting plans. I’m personally very happy with Wealthy Affiliate’s premium option and I am certain that or it’s starter plan will be perfect for you in 99% of cases.

But again, if there’s ANY ounce of intent from your end to make your site do well in search engines, do not cheapen or worsen it’s chances of doing so on completely free services.

Spend a little and get that quality service because a good plan in this regard absolutely helps make sure the page loads up quickly, often and doesn’t give you a headache and that is taken seriously by search engines too.

Can 301 Redirects Hurt SEO? In Some Cases, Yes.

Have you ever had to do a 301 redirect and wondered if it’ll hurt your page and website’s SEO? Well I’m here to tell you it may. Read this post to learn more.

can 301 redirects hurt seo

There are usually 4 circumstances for which you need to use 301 redirects for. For 2 of them, you will never have SEO issues, but for the other 2, you may.

As an SEO expert who has experienced or known people who have experienced these 4 issues, I can tell you about the effect it can have on rankings.

So whatever your current site’s situation is which requires the 301 fix (or doesn’t), align them with one of the 4 circumstances I’ll be talking about in detail (which best fits your site’s situation) and you’ll have your answer on whether or not it’ll hurt your SEO or not…

The 2 scenarios where they are ok for your SEO:

1) Moving page links from one site to another.

People switch their domain names very often and have to move content (pages and blog posts) from the old site to the new one. They’ll erase the pages and posts from the old site and put them up on the new site.

However, if the old site was up for quite a bit, it will still have rankings that Google recorded and will still show to people, meaning that your old site, will still get traffic and that traffic will now see 404 errors. 

However, if you set that same old site up with 301 redirects, then all that traffic that was coming into the old site from Google will now be redirected to the new one and eventually the rankings will adjust to show your new site on Google.

In this case, you can set up an infinite amount of 301’s if necessary, it only makes sense and Google is fine with it. Don’t worry.

Here’s an example (Video with article link):

2) You have a site which itself has broken links.

Your site NEEDS to have a good linking resume with Google and what that means is that it should have these things set up properly:

-The site needs to have a healthy amount of internal linking (from one part of your site to another part of your site) and every page you link to internally should load up just fine (no 404’s).

-It needs to have a healthy amount of external links to websites you link outward to and these links should themselves also load fine (again, no 404 issues).

These things are generally good for SEO (as are these additional 8 tips). But very often, people who are new to building sites screw this up. They incorrectly place URLs across their site and very often link to pages that don’t exist.

This creates 404 errors across the site, Google takes note and reduces the site’s rank (because there’s no sense in ranking pages that are error pages).

In this case, 301 fixes are also good to use to correct all the 404 errors that can arise within the site.

For these situations, you should use 404 link checkers like this, get the list of the errors, and then set up a 301 redirect plugin to fix the issues. Here is an example:

The next 2 scenarios (where 301 redirects are bad for SEO):

3) You set up too many of them when all you need is one.

This was actually explained by Matt Cutts (the man in the first video above) but basically if you’re trying to link from one site to another, and instead of it being done in 1 simple link process, that it’s done in several amounts, than the Google bot, which crawls content and follows links, will eventually “give up” with all the redirects.

Imagine sites A and B and only having to click on one link in A to get to B. 

Then imagine the same sites, A and B, but 5 or more redirects taking place before a person can go from A to B. The Google bot will see this and not like it.

What’ll end up happening is that it may not even reach site B and rank it as a result, so you only want the 301 fix to take place once per link, for each circumstance. The ease for someone to reach site B, from site A should literally be 1 click, 1 link and that’s it.

Make the ability for people to get to the right site, quick and happen the first time.

4) You just have way too many of them happening throughout your site.

This is actually my personal speculation on the matter and there’s logical sense in this affecting your SEO, but I suspect if a site has more broken links and 301’s happening than it has fully workable links, that it can slow down the progression of it’s rankings.

The reason I say this is because in my personal opinion of how Google does things, they like to see solid websites where links go to where they are supposed to and the pages load up perfectly fine. 

If there’s too many cases of broken links (situation 2) or there’s too many cases of redirects happening, it MAY (this is my opinion) give Google the impression that you either don’t know how to link properly, or perhaps there’s some flaky linking practices going on (even if the redirect works).

This may not cause negative rankings, but it may cause a lag in them rising in my opinion. Of course if your site is riddled with 404’s, it’s better to have a ton of 301’s around to fix them, than to keep the 404’s around, because if you don’t, you will absolutely lose your rankings, but at least by fixing them, you ensure that doesn’t happen.

But I personally try to stay away from this scenario ever taking place by only linking my sites internally and externally, correctly the first time, so none of these 404’s or 301’s ever happen or need to get fixed if they do and this is what I would suggest to you as well.

The fact of the matter is that broken links can and WILL occur on your site, even if you think you are doing things correctly. My Webmaster Tools account occasionally shows broken links on my site that in most cases, I swear, I do not have, but some reason, the Google bot is spotting a link that doesn’t exist on my site and it’s triggering a 404 error.

This is just something I’ve come to expect, so my position on the matter is to keep the 404’s as little as possible (Under 1% ideally) as well as the 301’s to a minimum as well (also under 1%). If any 404’s show up, I will set up the fix. 

Update: Yes I was right, there is some negative effect:

After finishing this article and hopping over to YouTube, the good old cookies and algorithm from that site saw I was interested in this topic and gave me a few related videos, one of which actually proved my theory on the 4th scenario indeed playing a negative SEO role, here it is:

Now they are talking about page rank here, which is a concept no longer used, but you can apply the overall “resume” of a website in Google’s eyes instead of page rank and assume, that the more 301 redirects it has, the less value it has in Google’s eyes.

This may not be detrimental in small proportions (and it shouldn’t be) but in mass proportions, it can start to play a role.

In most cases, you only need to worry about the first 3 situations.

The first 2 scenarios are the most likeliest in which this fix is necessary and in those circumstances, there’s no limit to how many of these fixes you can have. Google recommends it and the first video says there’s no limit.

It’s just when you begin over redirecting between just 2 URLs, which only require just doing it once, that the 301 redirect starts to cause an SEO problem.

And in the final scenario (which is again, my opinion), I would avoid it by simply making sure your external and internal linking practices are done right the first time. 

This pretty much solidifies the topic of 301 fixes and their SEO impact. So as I said earlier, if your current site is in need of them, at least now, you can see that in most cases, you can safely practice this fix without worrying about rankings being affected.