Do 301 Redirects have an impact on your website
If you consult Google to find out whether or not a 301 redirect will have an impact on your site most of the info you will get will tell you that in 2018, the impact is minimal.
Some post mentioned that it could be as little as a 10% impact whereas others cited studies show a 15% hit on traffic.
Recently after working on a pre-launch plan for a client, we had the opportunity to run our own test to see exactly how much of an impact we might see.
The client’s technology team outlined a build strategy that would ultimately change a majority of their legacy URL paths. We were brought in as a consultant to access the strategy and explore the possible impact.
A 301 Redirect Case Study
As a basis for this test, we decided to make changes to one of the clients top performing blog post. While this is not something we would usually recommend, we wanted to prove the effects of the impact of 301 redirects on a single page so the client could make an educated decision around whether or not to update the remaining page URL structure.
Before doing our test we took a capture of legacy URLs page views, and rankings to use as our control. Once ready we updated the target blog page URL path changing it from www.site.com/the-ultimate-used-car-checklist to www.site.com/ultimate-used-car-checklist (removing “the”) we then implemented a 301 redirect from the old URL to the new.
The objective was to demonstrate to the client the effects of 301 redirects on traffic and ranking an and to predict the percentage of its effect across all of the site should a majority of the sites URLs on the page be changed.
Before the 301 Redirect
- Page Views = 1,978
- Unique Page Views = 1,873
- Ranking Keywords: 516
After the 301 Redirect
- Unique Page Views = 1,526
- Unique Page Views = 1,440
- Ranking Keywords: = 449
The Results of our 301 Redirect Test
After our test, we saw that our test page saw a -5% decrease in Page Views and an almost 13% decrease in rankings. This gave us enough data to use to predict the total impact on the site if a majority of the sites URL paths were changed.
- Percentage of Change:
- Page Views = Percent of Change: -5.30839231 %
- Unique Page Views = Percent of Change: -5.63564875 %
- Ranking Keywords: = -12.98449612 %