Written by Ryan Jones. Updated on 07, July 2023
Seeing a Redirect Error within your Google Search Console Page Indexing Report is incredibly annoying. There are a number of reasons Google can report this error. In this article, we will go through the main reasons you see this error in Search Console and how to fix it.
This is, in my opinion, the most common reason Google Search Console throws up redirect errors to users.
If Google is told that "URL A" is no longer needed and redirected to "URL B" but is then, somehow, redirected to "URL A" again, it's safe to assume that this is going to cause Google a problem. Google's crawler will follow this around in circles for a while and eventually catch on to what is happening and send a redirect error your way.
I would recommend testing all of your redirects manually before submitting this information for Google to crawl to make sure that there are no redirect loops appearing. You can also crawl your site in a tool such as ScreamingFrog or Sitebulb to find and fix any redirect loops before submitting to Google.
httpstatus.io is also an incredibly useful tool for checking redirects are in place and working correctly.
A redirect chain, simply put, is too many redirects in a row that causes Google to stop following your redirects.
Let's say testsite.com/urla is the page you want to redirect, and testsite.com/urlc is the page you want users and bots to be redirected to. Best practise is to simply set up the redirect from URL A to URL C. However, in some instances (mainly due to CMS issues), you could end up sending users to testsite.com/urlb before URL C. If Google encounters something like this, eventually it is going to stop following this chain of redirects to save Googlebot's resources and also ensure your page-load time is faster for users due to less demand on your web server. Google's John Mueller recommends no more than 5 hops in any one redirect chain.
According to Google's official documentation, Googlebot (Google's crawler) has the ability to follow up to 10 pages in a single redirect chain. But this is clearly against best practise so we would advise keeping your redirects as lean as possible.
Another common reason you might be seeing a redirect error in your GSC reports is due to misformatted URLs within your redirect files. Common mistakes include:
In Layman's terms, if Google is shown a 404 page at any point during the redirect process, Google will ignore this and show the user a redirect error instead.
You can try each redirect manually to find any formatting or spelling errors, but this will take a lot of time depending on the size of your site and the amount of redirects you have in place. Using a site crawler will enable you to speed the process up significantly.
When you are looking to fix redirect errors that have been pointed out to you by Google Search Console, you will need to find any redirect issues on your site and fix these individually.
Start by logging into your CMS and heading into your ‘redirects' settings. Here you'll be able to see a list of all the current redirects in place.
Do any of these redirects lead to 404 pages? Are you sent from one page to the other stuck in a redirect loop? Are any of the URLs misspelled or misformatted? If so, you need to fix these before re-submitting the redirect list to your site and your site to GSC.
You can also run your website through a crawler such as ScreamingFrog or Sitebulb. This will give you a list of URLs that you can then filter down by response code (to find those pesky 404 responses) or find any instances of misspellings.
Do not get me wrong, this is a time-consuming process, but it is a process well worth following in the end to ensure Google can effectively crawl your redirects.