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Can too many redirects from a single URL have a negative effect on crawling?

Can too many redirects from a single URL have a negative effect on crawling? - answered by Matt Cutts

Matt's answer:

Today’s question comes from India, where Arpit asks, “Can too many redirects or multiple hops for a given URL, 301 as well as 302, have a negative impact in crawling/indexing/ranking?” Great question, because, yes, certainly if you have a large number of redirects in a chain, at some point Googlebot says this is too many. Let me just sit down and rest for a little while. So one or two should be totally fine. Three is getting up there. If you’ve got four or five, we might be able to follow all those hops, but that’s really a lot to chain together. More than five and I really would not expect Googlebot to follow that many hops. The other thing to bear in mind is if you’re mixing 301’s and 302’s. If you have a 301, that’s a permanent redirect. If you have a 302 redirect, that’s called temporary. And the expectation is that that redirect could go away and not stay for a permanent amount of time. So if you’re mixing 301’s and 302’s, you’re sort of sending a mixed message to Googlebot. So if something has really gone away, I would use a chain of 301’s. If something might come back later, then use 302’s. But if you can, try to avoid mixing them. Otherwise, we’ll do our best to interpret how to do, but it’s a little hard to kind of guess sometimes. And then the other thing is if you can, rather than having a whole long chain, if you can have just one redirect, then that’s a better user experience. It’s less likely to have mess-ups. Googlebot will certainly follow the one hop, much more so than two to five kind of hops. But that’s a little bit of things to be aware of. So we can follow multiple chains or hops in a redirect, but if possible, it’s better to keep it lower. And if you go more than five, I would really be surprised if we were to follow that many more within a redirect chain.

by Matt Cutts - Google's Head of Search Quality Team


Original video: