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Website uses 302 redirects when linking to external websites

     
11:40 pm on Sep 9, 2017 (gmt 0)

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There's a very established and well respected website in a specific topic area, which has recently started linking to on-topic news articles, located at external websites. It does so by running these links in a sidebar on their home page, next to their own content. However, it links to these external articles by using 302 redirects. So for example:

Headline 1 [link to external website using 302]
Some descriptive text here. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

Headline 2 [link to external website using 302]
Some descriptive text here. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

Each link points to a (non-existent)* link on their own site - e.g. example.com/originalwebsitesite/302/example123 but clicking the link actually 302 forwards to the real article at an external website. E.G. externalwebsiteexample.com/real/article.html

I'm just wondering what the intention and effect of this is?


*On searching further, I've noticed that they do seem to have an actual page on their own website dedicated to the topic, but this page is not (or is no longer) linked to from the home page. Also, the page is just a 'stub', which simply repeats the intro text from the home page and then links to the third party external website at the bottom of the text.
12:32 am on Sept 10, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I'm just wondering what the intention and effect of this is?
Black hat SEO. The offending site is attempting to gain ranking by using (in the form of redirects) well ranked remote content as it's own.

This is not a successful hack. The SEs will not be fooled and may in fact penalize the offending site.
12:18 pm on Sept 10, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Thanks.

Currently they are ranking top in Google for some of their 'stub/listings' pages, for variations of the heading keyphrases. They've only been using this practice for a couple of months. What they seem to be doing is linking both to their own 'stub/listings' pages on their site and also running 302 redirects to the sites which had the original news story.

E.G.

Headline 1 [link to external website using 302]
Some descriptive text here. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.
[Link to internal 'stub/listings' pages.]

It's a shame as much for the fact that users are getting irritated that they are clicking on links that they think are taking them to internal articles, and suddenly end up on a different website.

[edited by: bouncybunny at 12:28 pm (utc) on Sep 10, 2017]

12:28 pm on Sept 10, 2017 (gmt 0)

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You could report them ;)
12:34 pm on Sept 10, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Ah, reporting's not my thing. Too many more important things in the world to worry about.

I was mainly surprised and genuinely wondering why they were doing this. They are as much an authority on their topic as it is possible for a website to be and I would have thought that they would have better things to do with their time. Like writing the articles themselves. They can't be short on resources.
12:38 pm on Sept 10, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I suppose, benefit of the doubt, it could just be the default behaviour of their CMS. I used to run a forum which threw random 302s in all sorts of unexpected places.