Google Not Obeying 301 Redirects



Aug 8, 2020
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I've heard that there have been some issues as of late in regards to Google's indexing of various website pages. Something like these pages aren't being canonicalized in the index or the like. I also hear that these issues are being dealt with and are mostly fixed, so I won't get into them in this post. What I would like to explain to you is how Google, at times, ignores 301 directives. It's really a rather simple concept. If you've got Page A that redirects to Page B and Page A is still linked to by a bunch of other pages, Page B may never show as the canonical version of both pages. And what's worse is that Page B will be seen as a duplicate of Page A and not be ranked at all. And what's worse than that is that Page B may never be canonicalized with Page A, therefore leaving the website with a bunch of very low value URLs that do nothing. And what's even worse than that is that the target page will never even rank. The whole thing is a mess. The reason I'm writing about this is because this is what's occurring on one of my websites at the moment.

Check out this page that explains this topic:

On the page, John Mueller from Google says:

"At a general level, a 301 redirect is just a signal for canonicalization.

You’re telling us you’d prefer to have the destination page indexed rather than the originating one. And that’s fine.

However, we use lots of factors for canonicalization, not just redirects…

In practice, what happens here is we spot the redirect, but we also look at the other factors."

Other key factors include:

- Internal links
- Sitemap files
- All other references to the originating page

It seems to me that a 301 redirect really isn't a directive at all. It's more like a hint or a suggestion. Sure, it's a great way to force users to visit a different page than the original, but man it's confusing as far as SEO goes. As I said, I've been dealing with these non-redirected pages and it's turned into a mess. What's happening is that just because I've got a bunch of inadvertent redirects on my website, many of my valued pages are being ignored by Google. I have been forced to block the redirects in the robots.txt file; a move I would have rather not made.

Have you experienced anything like that? What's your opinion on 301 redirects? Do they work for you? Have they been canonicalized (merged) with their target pages? From what I've seen, once the links to the redirected page disappear, the pages do seem to merge together correctly. But if there are still a bunch of higher value links to the redirected page, it'll never redirect.
Google Not Obeying 301 Redirects was posted on 10-20-2020 by Phoenix1 in the Tech Forum forum.

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