It is not possible to completely avoid page redirects on a websites. But if redirects are present, they should not negatively impact your online marketing.

Therefore, web developers should follow these three rules:

  1. Let query (GET) parameters untouched
  2. Avoid redirect chains and use the right status code (mostly 301 Permanent Redirect)
  3. Avoid soft redirects

Let Query Parameters Untouched

Query parameters (part of URL after a question mark), also called GET parameters, often contain important information about web traffic source (marketing channel & campaign). This information is crucial for marketers to evaluate online marketing campaign.

Unfortunately, I quite often encounter the situation when a page is redirected to another one, but the query parameters are lost.

Every time you set up a server redirect, you should check that query parameters remain in the final (destination) URL.

E. g.: redirect from www.aaa.com/?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=cpc to www.bbb.com/products?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=cpc.

A specific setup depends on the server technology you use. E. g. for Apache with ModRewrite you can use QSA flag.

Avoid Redirect Chains and Use the Appropriate Status Code

Redirects should not be chained. It works but it takes time of search engines like Google or Bing (they do not like going through the redirect chains).

If a page you are redirecting to is a permanent substitute, you should use server status code 301 – Permanent Redirect.

You can use tools like httpstatus.io or digmato.com/urlcheck for batch checking your redirects.

Soft Redirects

What do I mean by soft redirects?

  1. Meta refresh redirect <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="1;url=http://example.com/target">
  2. Javascript redirect <script>window.location.href="http://example.com/target"</script>

Both are not search-engine friendly and mostly connected with query parameters loss.

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