We've been having problems with our index page dropping down the rankings and finally disappearing overnight. I do believe following help from Stevie on here that our branding etc. is dismal so that is being worked on.

However, I ran a crawl of the site and these stood out.

301 redirects

  1. http://www.example.com to https://www.example.com
  2. https://www.example.com to https://example.com
  3. https://example.com/index.php to http://www.example.com

our preferred domain is: https://example.com

So I can definitely understand (2) that's what we want, I can sort of see the logic of (1) to then lead onto (2) however (3) doesn't make any sense, we seem to be going round in a loop?

the .htaccess file has:

RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www\.(.+)$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^ https://%1%{REQUEST_URI} [R=301,L]

Is there an issue here or is this normal or harmful for SEO?

And if there is an issue is this potentially affecting our ranking (on top of the poor branding etc)?

  • 1
    Those redirects are not the most efficient implementation. It would be better to redirect more directly. Your server would have to do less work and it would be faster for users, but I doubt that a small chain of redirects is going to cause an SEO problem. Googlebot follows redirect chains that are 5 or 6 URLs long. A good answer to this question would tell you how to alter your rewrite rules, but I doubt that doing so would fix any SEO issues. Sep 14, 2017 at 13:05

2 Answers 2


This is harmful to SEO.

The max number if redirects should be 1. of course it's suggested SERP algo needs to scan many webpages daily and redirects make them to work more to index a website.

That's the reason why certain SERPs like Google consider redirects as bit on down side.

It's not a breaking factor, but surely will have a little impact on SERP results


Point all domains to 1 single URL which is https://example.com. Do no create redirection loop, it confuses the bots.

If that's not possible

Add rel canonical tag to the source code.

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