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WordPress have a site that is a Django and WordPress hybrid. The wordpress site is self contained at /wp. It is the mini-site for promotion and sales that a non-logged in user sees. The Django site is for the actual web application.

The way things are currently setup is that when a user browses to '/', Django checks if they are logged in. If not, it redirects (301 status, I believe) to /wp where they get the index page. If they are logged in, they get sent to the main Django dashboard of the app.

Does this kind of redirect harm the SEO at all?

  • No. Not at all. – closetnoc Apr 18 '15 at 3:43
  • Could you give me a bit more info please? – fpghost Apr 18 '15 at 4:56
  • With one exception. You really should have a home page, however, redirecting to a /wp directory immediately is really quite normal for many sites. I am a firm believer in having a home page. Let the page work for you. However, what you are doing is really quite normal and your WP sub-directory can perform fine. Just know that nothing behind your login will not be indexed which you do not want anyway. Google recommends against indexing content that a user cannot see. The only thing you are doing different is a conditional redirect. I do not think that will make a difference for search. – closetnoc Apr 18 '15 at 5:03
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It depends.

If your site has very few visitors, then there may be no negative effect on SEO. If however your site is the like one of the most popular sites in the world with hundreds of visitors a minute accessing the site via the root domain (for example, by typing it in), then it may affect SEO because all accesses to the root still produce a page to the client regardless of the status code and this production uses up connections on the server and the server doesn't free them until a state called TIME-WAIT ends which is about 60 seconds after the connection with the client ends.

If the server is setup to handle a limited number of connections then the server will be slow for the rest of the users while its processing the pages for the first set of users. Run a stress test on your server and you'll know what I mean. A utility called apache bench works very well for this purpose.

Here's an example in numbers.

If your server can handle only 10 connections at once, and 500 people wanted to access the site all at once, then the first ten get the pages right away and the next person will have to wait until one page is served to one of the first ten people etc.

With the necessary redirect, the problem is doubled because instead of trying to process one page for a client, you're processing two. The redirect page, AND the actual web page.

To see the numbers more clearly, run your site with webpagetest.org. You will see higher loading times if you test with the root domain in comparison to the final redirected domain. That site also states the "time to first byte" on a site includes the time a redirect is processed. You want your "time to first byte" as low as possible. Anything under 200 milliseconds is good. Anything above and it could be trouble. Also, any page that loads over 1.5 seconds can cause guest loss.

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Redirecting from the root URL to have a different URL for the homepage is fairly common practice.

Twenty years ago it was considered bad practice because browsers put redirecting URLs into the browser history. (Netscape 4, I think, was the last browser to do this.) Using redirects would "break" the back button. Users would hit "back" and get the redirect which would forward them to the home page again. Sites that redirected away from the normal root home page URL were often viewed as trying to "trap" the user on the site.

These days browsers are much better and many sites work this way. It doesn't cause problems with search engines. Search engines know how to deal with redirects. They will be able to rank your site and home page, no matter what URL you choose for your home page.

The only thing that you need to do specially, is if you want to change the home page URL at some point in the future. At some point you may user a different CMS, or you may want to put the home page URL back to the root. You need to be prepared to put a redirect away from your old /wp home page in such a case.

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