Please Stop the Homepage 301 Madness!

One of the biggest steps of our SEO setups is performing a thorough architecture audit of the website. When we perform this audit we do a full diagnostic of BOTH the information and technology architecture of our clients site. This diagnostic outlines in plain english what problems their IT departments need to address that are creating duplicate content issues, broken pages, indexation issues, and numerous additional items that hold back their site’s full ranking potential.

One peculiar item we’ve begun to notice with more ecommerce retailers is 301 redirecting their homepage to a subfolder. Typically they will name that sub folder /home, /site /shop. Below is list of sites we found perusing the web. NOTE (None of these guys are our clients, they are just merely examples of this in practice)

There’s really any number of reasons for doing this. Typically, big ecommerce companies will do this because they constructed/installed their shopping cart platform on a sub folder named /home, /site, or /shop. Because those sub pages will be void of content and they will simply redirect the root to the sub folder.

A lot of webmasters may think this is correct because a 301 is a permanent redirect and should pass all the link value over to the new page.

However, what we’ve seen in our experience is that 301’s don’t always pass over the value. Our experience has shown us that some times 85% – 90% of the value of the link gets passed. Most of it is the link authority/trust, but what’s typically not being passed is anchor text equity of those links pointing to the root.

How do we know ? We’ve recently went through the exercise of advising 2 of our clients to drop the 301 off their root and 301 the old subfolder back to the root. What happened? Shazam within 2 weeks their sites began started ranking for extremely competitive keywords.

Why? Both of their existing link profiles for their homepages had a large number of sites linking back to them using their brand name. Well it just so happens that both their brand names contain some form of our target keyword + their trade marked keywords. Before the 301, when looking at Google’s cache of the homepage there were no reference to the keywords. After dropping the 301 the cache began showing this message “These terms only appear in links pointing to this page: Target Keywords

To make it even more confusing we found this video of Google’s Matt Cutts (Head of the Search Quality Group) saying that 301’s pass all value.

Thankfully to ensure we weren’t crazy we continued searching for additional info about our experience and we found this interview from Matt Enge with Matt Cutts where Cutts confirmed that “301 Redirects Do Not Pass Full PageRank & Link Value”

In short….big companies stop redirecting your homepage to subfolders as you are leaving a massive amount of traffic and revenue on the table.

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This post was written by downtownecommerce_admin