Google’s ultimate goal as a search engine is to keep their consumers happy. If those consumers are constantly being duped with search results that don’t deliver what they say they will, those searchers leave unhappy. Google has an algorithm that they use to keep websites from manipulating their ways to the top of the search results, and if any website fails to keep up with the standards of that algorithm, that website will receive a penalty that hurts their overall rankings.
If your website is hit with a penalty, the only way to regain your standing in Google’s good books is to correct the problem. Many use a 301 redirect as a temporary fix or a short cut to correcting the problem. A 301 redirect is an error page that directs the user to a new URL in the event that you need to change a URL. The redirect permanently moves the page to a new location, and virtually erases the penalty.
But will this really solve the algorithmic penalty? Here are some pros and cons for using a 301 redirect to solve the algorithmic penalty problem.
- Clears Suspicious Activity: The 301 redirect effectively shifts the content from one URL to another, which helps to remove suspicious link activity and other problems with the content without upsetting the website’s current rankings.
- No Time Lost: When your website is hit with a penalty, it takes several weeks or even months to fix the problem. You don’t want to lose time you could be gaining in SEO rankings while you solve the issue. The redirect will keep your status.
- Don’t Lose Pagerank: While you’re making the necessary changes to your website, the 301 redirect will allow you to preserve your current status on search engine results.
- It Doesn’t Fix Content: Though the jury is still out on whether or not Google’s algorithm is smarter than the typical 301 redirect, it’s important to note that the redirect does not entirely separate the original domain with the new one. The penalties associated with the content will remain and will be transferred to the new domain.
- The Problem Can Remain: If you’ve been penalized it’s most likely because of a problem with the content or spam within the website. Unless the redirect is a sign that you are fixing the problems, whether because of duplicate content, keyword stuffing, or cross-domain link building, the problem will not remain unique to your original domain.
- Can Create More Penalties: A 301 redirect can easily be used incorrectly, and if you do so, you run the risk of earning more penalties on your website, such as duplicated content across both domains. A correctly used 301 redirect will help to erase this potential problem.
Overall, when it comes to algorithmic penalties, 301 redirects have their uses as you work to correct the penalty, but it shouldn’t be left at that. If you want to resume your SEO standing, it’s important to fix the problem as soon as possible, and not try to cover it up.