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Is it necessary to 301 redirect a URL if the page has no backlinks?

     
10:10 pm on Aug 30, 2019 (gmt 0)

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On a large site with many pages (100k to 600k), if a URL is moved for a page that gets next to no traffic, doesn't rank significantly for anything, and has little to no backlinks, is it still necessary to use a 301 redirect? I am only referring to permalink changes, not a domain or TLD change.

Similarly, are there any cons to using a 301 redirect? E.g., long redirect chains can create a poor user experience, and I imagine are more prone to experiencing crawl (and possibly indexing?) issues.

Let's assume there are also a few common redirects for the domain, such as http to https, none-trailing slash to trailing slash, which could mean that in very select cases, some referral links could redirect 1-2 times already.

Basically, is a 301 redirect always needed after a URL change, could redirects ever be harmful, or is it best to always use one?
11:52 pm on Aug 30, 2019 (gmt 0)

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A 301 should be used if a new page replaces an older page and now has the content that the older page had. If the new page is unrelated it is better to return a 410 or at least a 404 than to 301 redirect to the new page.

If your rewrites are properly done there should not be chained redirects. Different rules may be applied to a requested URL but it should not become a 'chain'.
1:55 am on Aug 31, 2019 (gmt 0)

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some referral links could redirect 1-2 times already
Only if your redirects are coded in the wrong order, which is an issue that you need to fix in any case.

If nobody ever requests a page, it does not matter if it is redirected or not. But this is a purely academic, contrary-to-fact scenario, because once a search engine has learned of an URL's existence, it will keep re-requesting it periodically.
1:33 pm on Aug 31, 2019 (gmt 0)

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If notoriusbean has a redirect chain, they may be trying to get the link juice from each old URL and combining it for the new URL. Not sure if that works and as you said it is a bad user experience.
1:57 pm on Aug 31, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The value of "link juice" is probably overrated these days, and chasing it usually results in poor experience for the user, and worse experience for the webmaster doing hoops for something that is marginal at best.

That said, an unvisited (by humans) webpage is a waste of space, time, effort, and resources ... best not to post those in the first place. (just sayin')

That said, if there is a reason to move a url to a different page, do the redirect. If that redirect is on top of another redirect (poor coding on the webmaster's part) you get what you get.

There's nothing wrong with returning 404 if the page/url no longer exists. That's the easy way. 410 is more correct for pages that will never be brought back.
 

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