Google on how long it takes to rank a new URL after 301 redirect
Google’s John Mueller was recently featured in a video about 301 redirects in which an interesting revelation was made.
As part of the Ask Google Webmasters video series, Mueller answered the following question submitted by a site owner:
“After a 301 redirect, how long does it take Google to start ranking the NEW URL instead of the old one?
I did a redirect from A to B with 301, then Google indexed BOTH but instead of ranking the new Google is still ranking the old URL.
The most interesting thing we learned from the video isn’t the answer itself, but the revelation that Google doesn’t help its SEO team with SEO issues.
Apparently Google’s SEO team asked the same question about redirects.
However, Mueller is unable to help them directly, he says:
“This is something even the Google SEO team wanted to ask us. Unfortunately, we cannot help the Google SEO team with SEO questions.”
Months ago we learned that Google actually had its own SEO team.
Not only that, but Google’s SEO team has “more trouble than others” in the same area.
See: Google’s John Mueller: Our SEOs have it harder than
Maybe this is an example of how hard it is for Google SEOs?
Back to the question posed – here’s what Mueller has to say about 301 redirects.
301s aren’t the only canonization factor
The site owner who contacted Mueller is trying to get a new URL recognized as the canonical version.
They try to accomplish this by setting up a 301 redirect.
Mueller informs them that Google uses many factors to identify a canonical URL, not just redirects.
“On a general level, a 301 redirect is just a canonicalization signal.
You tell us that you prefer the landing page to be indexed rather than the original one. And it’s good.
However, we use many factors for canonicalization, not just redirects…
In practice, what’s happening here is that we’re spotting the redirect, but we’re also looking at the other factors.
Other key factors include:
- Internal links
- Sitemap Files
- All other references to the original page
If all factors line up, Google will treat the destination URL as canonical.
“If everything is in order, we will focus on the landing page.
To facilitate this, be sure to update internal links, sitemap files, and other references to the originating page so that they all point to the destination page.
So update the links on your site to point to the new URL and replace the old URL with the new one in your sitemap.
If there are big sites linking to the old URL, it might be worth contacting them and asking them to update the link.
In other words, send as many signals as possible to inform Google that the new URL is the most relevant version for Internet users.
How to check which URL is canonical
Site owners can easily check which version of a URL is recognized as canonical.
But first, Mueller tells site owners what they need to do not do when checking canonical URLs.
“Another quirk here is that if you explicitly search for the old original page, we’ll try to show it in search.
For example, if you specifically search for the old URL directly, we’ll probably be able to show it to you even though we’ve since moved on to the new one.
Searching for the old URL won’t help, because you’ll probably find it.
Although this does not mean that Google considers it the canonical version.
To be absolutely sure, you should use the URL Inspection tool in Search Console.
“You can verify that it is working properly in Search Console by using the URL Inspection tool there.
There you can clearly see which URL is currently selected as canonical.
And if it’s not the page you want, look for signals pointing to the old URL and fix them.
For more details, see the full video below: