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I am working on a website that has a huge amount of 301s in it due to new versions of the website being roled out and thus different URL structures being used. I have noticed that some of the old URLs 301 to another "newer, but still old" URL which in turn then gets 301ed to the actual current page.

An example would be: www.example.com/oldest_link/foobar/ would 301 to www.example.com/old_link/foobar/ which in turn would 301 to www.example.com/current_link/foobar/.

Although this works just fine for the user, I wanted to know if this would involke some sort of "SEO penalty" because the Google bots gets bounced a few times before landing on the correct page to crawl.

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It is fine to redirect multiple times A -> B -> C as long as the chain of redirects isn't too long. Web clients give up after some number of redirects.

Because the number of redirects in a chain is limited, it is better to redirect directly to the final location when that is known and can be easily implemented.

There are many times when I put in redirect rules that cause a chain. Something like:

http://example.com/foo.html (add the www) -> http://www.example.com/foo.html (make it https) -> https://www.example.com/foo.html (page moved) -> https://www.example.com/foo-2014.html

In that case my blanket rewrite rules for adding the www and ensuring https aren't aware of the page changing names.

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    Should also add that multiple redirects makes the site slower (i.e. it takes longer to get to the final URL). – DisgruntledGoat Nov 27 '14 at 19:11
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There is no penalty as a result of multi-chain 301's no but a small amount of weight passed is lost (it is tiny so nothing major to worry about) but obviously the more in the chain, less weight is passed through to the final destination like so:-

  • 301 Redirect 1 (97% weight passed) - total 97%
  • 301 Redirect 2 (97% weight passed) - total 94%
  • 301 Redirect 3 (97% weight passed) - total 91%

It would make more sense to just cut out the middle redirect(s) and do something like:-

301 redirect www.example/oldest_link/foobar/ to www.example/current_link/foobar/?

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