Redirect (3XX) URL received organic search traffic

This means that the URL in question returns a HTTP status of 3XX (Redirect), yet received organic search traffic, per the connected Google Analytics and Google Search Console accounts.

Why is this important?

If a URL is redirected yet receiving search traffic, this means that the 'wrong' URL is indexed in Google - it should be the redirect destination URL instead. Redirects don't deliver a terrible user experience - as they still result in the user ending up on the right page (usually), but they do add an extra unnecessary hop, increasing the time it takes for the user to see rendered content.

What does the Hint check?

This Hint will trigger for any internal URL which recorded some clicks in Search Analytics, and/or some visits in Google Analytics, where the URL also redirects.

This data was collected from Google Search Console and Google Analytics, via API, for the connected Property/View, and for the specified date range.

Examples that trigger this Hint:

Consider the URL: https://example.com/page-a, which has registered some search traffic.

The Hint would trigger for this URL if it had a 301 (Permanent Redirect) header response:

HTTP/... 301 (Moved Permanently)

...

Similarly, URLs with other 'redirect' statuses will trigger the Hint (i.e. any other 3XX response).

How do you resolve this issue?

Before jumping to any conclusions, it is worth remembering that the traffic data collected is historical, yet the crawl was done in real time - so it might be the case that this URL previously has a HTTP Status 200 (OK), and is now redirected.

Assuming this is not the case, then you would need to understand why a redirected URL is appearing in the search index (which it must do to get traffic), when the deliberate instruction is for it to not be indexed.

This might simply be because Google has yet to recrawl the URL or update it's index, or it could be because there are conflicting factors which might cause it to 'hang on' to redirecting URLs:

  • Is the redirect set up incorrectly? (e.g. redirect loop)
  • Is the redirect destination URL not accessible? (e.g. disallowed, 404)
  • Is the redirect destination URL canonicalized back to the original URL?
  • Is the redirecting URL referenced in XML Sitemaps?
  • Does some other URLs have canonicals that point at the redirecting URL?
  • Are there other conflicting robots signals, such as noindex, or disallow?

If these factors are not in alignment, then it can take some time for Google to understand which URL 'should' be indexed, and which should not. In general, clear, consistent signals help search engines get it right, and stop them getting confused.

Further Reading

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