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I have some tag pages on my website which contain specific keywords. They appear in the Google search results for those keywords.

Those pages bring in a fair amount of traffic but the bounce rate is very high because they contain a mixed of links to other pages on my site. This is confusing users and I don't have a way to fix the pages.

So lets say this is the page in Google result:

  • www.example.com/tag/keyword-with-high-trafic-1
  • www.example.com/tag/keyword-with-high-trafic-2
  • etc.

So what I am planing to do is to redirect in .htaccess all those /tag/ pages from search results to the root domain, hoping that bounce rate is going to be much lower and I am going to get better user experience.

Btw. with those pages I got on the Google first pages for the keywords I would hardly rank for if I did it normal convenient way.

How would Google behave with this redirection? Is it good practice to
redirect a landing page in terms of ranking for specific keyword?

Would Google leave me on the first page for the specific keyword or even maybe rank me higher, or I would just lose my ranking positions?

  • Why can't you fix the tag pages? If you are running WordPress, this article has instructions for changing specific tag pages: codex.wordpress.org/Tag_Templates – Stephen Ostermiller Feb 25 at 14:00
  • @StephenOstermiller hi stephen... no i am not using wp, and these tag pages are made dynamicaly as the users type their searchqueries in searchbar. now, we have real estate listings, and when user types in "condo in berlin" this created page shows results from everywhere not only berlin. so it takes a lot of effort and money to fix this problem as we already have convenient search result pages. redirecting those pages would be most simple option as we redirect users to the homepage so they can search from the beginning. however, we want to stay positioned with homepage where tag pages ranked – paranoic Feb 25 at 15:05
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When you redirect a page to the home page, Google treats that as a "Soft 404". Google sees it as equivalent to removing the page without a redirect. As such, you will lose all your rankings for that keyword.

Your other options are to improve the tag page itself, or to build a special page just about that topic and redirect to it instead. If you did that, you would likely rank similar or better for those keywords.

You say that those tag pages are powered by dynamic search. It is not a good idea to allow Google to index pages that are powered by search. Google thinks it is not a good user experience for users to land on a search result page on your site from the Google search results. See Search results in search results. Google reviewers sometimes try to create weird pages on your site using that functionality. If they were able to, for example, create a page about "viagra", they would ban your entire site from Google. You should prevent Google from crawling or use noindex tags on all search results pages on your site.

  • hi @StephenOstermiller this answer makes great sense, this is how Google works. Now, i am trying to rank on Google for search results in country with less market interest for Google, which is Bosnia. In my niche, every competitor page is ranked with search pages, even with 3 or 4 pages on the first page in search results. I tought it is because of lack of interest for Google to develop contextual search like in english for USA or german in Germany, so for that reason i am having really hard time to rank at all. (continue in next comment) – paranoic Feb 26 at 14:42
  • The question is, do you think Google uses different/old algorihms in those countries since Google results in those countries never bring as much value as they bring in developed countries like USA Germany etc.? If yes, what algorithms could that be, considering that 9 of 10 search results are search pages? How would in this case scenario my redirection plan behave? I know i am trying to get too much, but only this way i can solve this problem in whole. Thanks – paranoic Feb 26 at 14:43
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    Google spam fighting algorithms are usually English first. The algorithms get rolled out to other languages eventually. Google may not employ as many reviewers in lesser used languages either. Just because your competitors are doing it it doesn't make it a good idea. Google will crack down eventually. – Stephen Ostermiller Feb 26 at 15:23
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    "build a special page just about that topic and redirect to it instead." - although it seems these "tag pages" are part of the site's search feature, so if these pages were "redirected" then wouldn't that break the site's search feature? Unless you attempted some type of "cloaking" - which would be bad anyway? – DocRoot Feb 26 at 15:44
  • thanks @StephenOstermiller that is really usefull information i wasnt really sure of, i was kind of logically assuming it. no i dont think they think its good idea, i think they saw it working and just let it go, because, most of their search result pages which rank high on google have dynamical URLs which is from the aspect of google crazy. i just think it could be a good idea to know exactly which algorithm is google using at the moment for lets say Google.ba so i could make anything work in this archaic Google algosphere. after that just wait when the newer algorithms take place and prepare – paranoic Feb 26 at 20:54
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If your new landing page that you're redirecting to, holds relevant information/content that adds more value to the keywords your pages are being ranked for, then you can hold your ranking positions.

If your new landing page is generic and you're trying to redirect users from other landing pages, the ranking positions depend on your on-page factors as well as the content fetched. If any other competitor serves better information and has a targeted landing page for the keyword, then it might cause you lose rankings.

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