Redirects using a Meta refresh

This means that the URL in question uses a meta refresh to redirect the page.

Why is this important?

The Meta refresh is a simple on page redirect, and is usually used when it is not possible to implement a HTTP redirect. Search engines may not always follow the meta refresh instruction, and there is no guarantee that link equity will be passed on.

They also offer a poor user experience, typically associated with a five-second countdown and the text "If you are not redirected in five seconds, click here".

You can also end up with both URLs (the original URL and the destination URL) remaining in the index, particularly if the original URL has a higher PageRank than the destination URL.

If possible we recommend switching to a HTTP 301 redirect, which matches Google's recommendations.

What does the Hint check?

This Hint will trigger for any internal URL which has a meta refresh in the <head> which specifies a destination URL.

Examples that trigger this Hint:

Consider the URL: https://example.com/page-a

The Hint would trigger for this URL if it contained a meta refresh redirect in the head:

<!doctype html>
<html lang="en">
<head>
<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0;URL=https://example.com/page-b" />
<title>Page A</title>
...
</head>
<body>...</body>
</html>

How do you resolve this issue?

Ideally, remove the meta refresh and utilise a 301 permanent redirect instead. A 301 redirect happens at the server level, rather than at the client level, and are generally the best way to handle redirects.

However, if there is genuinely no way to control server-side redirects (e.g. you cannot get access to the .htaccess file), then the meta redirect is unlikely to hurt you too much from a crawling and indexing perspective - particularly if the number of URLs displaying this behaviour is a small percentage of the overall website size.

However, the redirecting page should still not be part of the overall site architecture - i.e. it should not have internal links pointing at it, instead of the destination URL.

The way to handle internal redirects is identify all the links that currently point to the redirecting URL, and change the href target to instead point to the new destination URL.

How do you get more data from Sitebulb?

From the URL List, you can click on the 'URL Details' button for any individual URL. From here you can see the redirect chain, which will show you the final destination URL (with status code 200).

Redirect Chain

You can also then view the Internal Links, which will need to be updated to the destination URL:

Incoming Links to Redirect URL

This allows you to handle each redirect individually. But if you want to deal with them in bulk, the best way to do this is to export the data and work from there.

From the URL List, click on the green button Export Hint Data.

Export Hint Data

Then the export file will give you everything you need to resolve each one, including example URLs that link to the redirect, and clarification if the links are part of the navigation or in-content.

Internal Redirect Export

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