Weekly SEO news: 12 April 2016
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

Table of contents:

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Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. Official: how Google handles redirects

Google's John Mueller posted an official explanation of how Google handles different URL redirects. Does this affect the rankings of your web pages? Do you have to change anything?

What is a redirect?

A redirect is between two pages. For example, you enter the URL of page A in your web browser. Page A tells the browser that the actual content can be found on page B. The browser goes to page B.

There are different redirect types that you can use to tell web browsers and search engine robots that the content can be found on a new page.

301 permanent redirect

If you use a server-side redirect, the web server returns the redirect as soon as you try to access the page. The user never sees any of the content of the initial page.

A "301 permanent redirect" is a server redirect that tells search engine robots that the old URL should not be used anymore. The new URL should be used instead.

This is useful when you change your website URLs for good, for example when you redesign your website.

302 temporary redirect

A 302 redirect is also a server-side redirect. The difference is that a "302 temporary redirect" tells search engines that the URL might change. According to John Mueller "search engines tend to index the content (and keep all signals) under [the original URL], since it’s unsure that it’ll always redirect to [the new URL].

These temporary redirects are useful for redirects that depend on the user's country, device, or language settings.

JavaScript redirects

A JavaScript redirect is a so-called client-side redirect. That means that the web server first shows the original page. The initial page tells the browser that the content is on another page.

According to John Mueller, "caching depends on the server settings, and search engines have to guess at what you’re trying to do (index under [the original URL] or [the redirected URL]?)."

Meta refresh-type redirects

These redirects are similar to JavaScript redirects. A meta tag on the original page redirects the browser to a new page. These redirects are not recommended.

303 redirects, 304 redirects, and other things

It's usually not recommendable to use these redirects. Here's what John Mueller says about them: "If you have strong feelings about one of the other kinds of redirects, feel free to use them. We’ll have to figure out which URL to index the content under, so if you have strong feelings about that too, make sure to follow up with other canonicalization signals."

You can redirect as many URLs on your site as you want at the same time. However, you should keep the redirect chain as short as possible. Google follows up to five redirects in a chain.

The tools in SEOprofiler help you to optimize your pages for higher rankings on Google and other search engines. If you haven’t done it yet, try SEOprofiler now:

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week
Google’s John Mueller: HTTP/2 has no impact on SEO

"On his Google+ page, Google’s John Mueller made clear that HTTP/2 has no impact on SEO:

HTTP/2 has no impact on SEO. Search engine crawlers (even if they don’t support HTTP/2 yet, like Googlebot) will continue to work normally, you don’t have to set up redirects, change links, add markup, or make any changes in Search Console."

GoogleIs Google testing the Penguin 4.0 algorithm? 

"I think we are on the verge of seeing Penguin 4.0 launch soon at Google [...] I have seen some chatter in the industry, on and off chatter, over the past 12 hours or so, that people are noticing some drastic changes with the Google search rankings on and off.

It can be nothing, it can be a blip, it can be a different algorithm or it can be people making stuff up - but it also can be Google testing Penguin 4.0 to a limited set of searchers."

How page speed as a Google ranking factor works

"There’s the kind of perceived speed in the browser, in the time it takes to render a page, and that is something that is definitely a ranking factor, it’s probably not the biggest ranking factor.

And usually we try to differentiate between sites that are really slow, and sites that are kind of normal. So just optimizing on a millisecond basis is not going to affect anything in the search results."

GoogleUpdated Google quality rater guidelines: no more supplementary content, emphasis on E-A-T

"We also see a greater emphasis on the role of Your Money Your Life and E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness). Quality is important to Google, and to how web pages are rated, but it seems that Google is increasing this importance even more so since they originally introduced it.

Mobile is still pretty important, especially with more searches coming from mobile devices than desktop. And Google is placing emphasis once again on mobile in their examples and guidelines."

The technical audit checklist made for human beings

"Yet the (long, laborious) audit has still got to be done. We sift through crawls, consider best practices, analyze sitemaps—the list goes on. [...] There are lots of technical checklists out there. And with good reason—technical audit require inspecting many different things in many different places."

Editor's note: Website audits can be much easier if you use the automated website audit tool in SEOprofiler.

Search engine newslets

  • Google testing review snippets in local pack.
  • Google's new 'nearby' ad format looks like free results. 
  • Google: We test by redirecting a small percentage of traffic, not setting up test sites.
  • Google tells website owners that their site is not mobile friendly in mobile search results.
  • Microsoft and HackerRank bring executable code snippets to Bing’s search results pages.
3. Recommended resources


SEOprofiler helps you to get high rankings on Google and more customers. It offers all the tools that you need:

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  • automated ranking checks
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  • link disinfection tool
  • social media monitoring
  • white-label reports (web-based and PDF)
  • AdWords Profiler and Ranking Profiler
  • NEW: Domain Finder tool
  • and much more.

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