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If another website puts an anchor to our app to https://URL1 and this link redirects to our website at https://OURCOMPANY, does Google count this as a back link to our website?

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Googlebot follows redirects and passes Pagerank across them. Links that redirect normally would count as back links and help SEO. However, there are some things that could prevent that:

  • Googlebot likes 301 Permanent type redirects best. If the redirect is some other type like 302 Temporary, meta refresh, frameset redirect, or JavaScript based; Googlebot is less likely to follow it and pass Pagerank across it.
  • Redirects from deep URLs to your home page are seen as "Soft 404" errors by Googlebot. So if the redirect is from https://someothersite.example/some-deep-page.html to https://mysite.example/ (the home page), Google probably won't assign any value to the redirect.
  • If the content at the destination page has significantly changed since the link was created, Google may ignore the link and the redirect. Google may monitor links and stop passing Pagerank when the destination page changes significantly. This prevents people from getting SEO value from acquiring defunct sites.
  • Google doesn't like link spam. If Google thinks the link and redirect are spammy in any way, it won't pass any value across them. In the worst case, Google could penalize your entire site for spammy links.

So you don't need to worry about changing all the links that point to your site from before you changed your domain name. All those links will continue to work and you will get SEO value from them.

If you are trying to grab an old URL and redirect it to your site, that probably won't help at all and will look spammy.

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  • I'm curious about your second argument ("Redirects from deep URLs to your home page are seen as "Soft 404" errors by Googlebot.") - do you have any source for that? I agree that the value might not be the same but I'm not sure about the Soft 404 aspect (even if it is something of an umbrella term). Feb 19, 2020 at 13:05
  • If you redirect a deep URL on your own site to the homepage Google will actually report it as a soft 404 in Google search console. That is why I say that Google treats deep URL redirects to the homepage as soft 404. Feb 19, 2020 at 13:11
  • I think it's more of a"can" than a "will"; I recently migrated a website where the content of some internal pages where being covered by the new website's homepage and they were indexed without any issues, so it's more a relevance issue than a rule. Feb 19, 2020 at 13:29

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