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Check and Fix Redirect Chains – Lil Assistance

Check and Fix Redirect Chains

by | Sep 17, 2022

🎯 What’s the goal?
Detect and fix any broken redirects on your website or leading to it.
⚠️ Why does it matter?
Broken redirects make for a bad user experience. Content of your website may be inaccessible. Audiences could get frustrated and may never return. They devalue your SEO efforts.
🏁 What’s the result?
Your website doesn’t contain any broken redirects.
⌚ When do you do this?
As soon as you put your website online and then on a regular basis.
βœ… Any special requirements?
πŸ™‹β€β™‚οΈWho should do it?
Pearson in charge of managing your website.

πŸ‘‰ Where this is done: Using ScreamingFrog or SiteBulb apps to spot the potential issues. Then fix manually via post/page editors of your CMS.

⏳ How long will this take? about 1 hour

Now it’s time to start searching for potentially broken redirects
hidden within your website.

Environment setup:

  • ScreamingFrog software installed on your computer.
  • Sitebulb software installed on your computer.
  • We recommend that you use Google Chrome browser to navigate the web.

#1 – Checking for Redirects with ScreamingFrog

Installing ScreamingFrog software

  • The website should automatically detect what operating system you are using. In our case, this is Windows OS. Click on β€œDownload now”. If for some reason you use a different operating system than detected, select it by clicking on β€œUsing a different operating system?” below.
  • ScreamingFrog software will start to download.
  • After downloading, click on software you just downloaded.
  • Choose β€œDefault” and press on β€œInstall”.
  • When you see β€œCompleted”, you can click on β€œClose”.

Checking for Broken Redirects with ScreamingFrog

  • Open β€œScreamingFrog SEO Spider” software.
  • Wait for it to open.
  • β€œAccept” End User Licence Agreement.
  • Make sure that the required settings are enabled. Start with changing β€œMode” to β€œList”.
  • Go to β€œConfiguration”, then β€œSpider”.
  • In the β€œAdvanced” tab check β€œAlways Follow Redirects”.
  • Then go to β€œConfiguration” and then β€œrobots.txt” and choose β€œSettings”.
  • Check β€œIgnore robots.txt”.

Leave ScreamingFrog open. Now you have to get a list of URLs for the software to crawl

Getting the list of URLs for ScreamingFrog to crawl with MOZ Link Explorer

  • Click on β€œLog in” in the upper right corner.
  • β€œLog in” or click on β€œCreate an account” if you haven’t got one on moz.com.
  • If you are creating an account simply fill in with your β€œEmail”(1), come up with a β€œDisplay name”(2) and β€œPassword”(3). Agree to Terms of Service & Community Etiquette(4), check β€œI’m not a robot” box(5) and click on β€œCreate an account”.

Remember to activate your account by clicking on activation mail you will get to your email

  • Once you log in to your Moz account navigate to β€œFree SEO Tools” in the upper right corner and choose β€œLink Explorer”.
  • Make sure the β€œroot domain” option is set next to β€œEnter a URL” search-box.
  • If not, choose it from the drop-down list.
  • Enter your URL and click on β€œAnalyze”.
  • Once the process is complete, choose β€œInbound Links” from the left-side menu.
  • There is only one option you need to adjust. Under β€œLink Type” choose β€œvia redirect”.
  • Now click on β€œExport CSV” to get your report.
  • Your download will start shortly.
  • Now you have to export the data from the CSV file to MS Excel or Google Sheets. Check THAT guide on how to do this.
  • Once you open your CSV file navigate to β€œTarget URL” column.
  • Copy all URLs from that column and go back to ScreamingFrog software.
  • Click on β€œUpload”, then β€œPaste”.
  • Your copied URLs will appear on the list. Click on β€œOK”.
  • Wait for the software to finish crawl.
  • After the process, navigate to β€œReports”, β€œRedirects” and click on β€œRedirects Chains”.
  • Save the report in the desired location of your PC.

Reading ScreamingFrog Report

ScreamingFrog report will allow you to diagnose any issues with your redirects. We will show you some of the more important columns of the report.

  • β€œNumber of Redirects” will show you how many times URL is redirected before reaching its’ final address. β€œ0” – no redirects, β€œ1” – simple redirect, β€œ2” or more – redirect chain.
  • β€œLoop” column will indicate that if there are any β€œredirect loops”. Those are very bad for your site. Nothing to worry about if the report shows β€œFALSE”. Check THIS article to find out more about β€œredirect loops”.
  • β€œAddress” column shows the first URL in a chain.
  • β€œFinal Address” column contains the final URL of the chain.
  • β€œFinal Status Code” shows status code for final redirect in the chain.

To check the meaning of each status code, check Oracle’s Help Center article on that topic.

  • β€œStatus Code X” and β€œRedirect URL X” contain status code for Xth redirect and Xth URL in the chain accordingly. (X refers to the position in the chain).

#2 – Checking for Broken Redirects with Sitebulb software

Installing Sitebulb software

  • Go to the Sitebulb website.
  • Click on the β€œTry Sitebulb for Free” button.
  • Choose β€œDownload for Windows” or β€œDownload for Mac” depending on your OS.
  • β€œSitebulb.exe” software will start to download.
  • Double click on β€œSitebulb.exe” after downloading to start the software installation.
  • Click on β€œNext”.
  • Choose a directory for your software installation and press on β€œNext”.
  • Click on β€œInstall”.
  • Wait for the installation to finish.
  • And then click on β€œFinish”.
  • Now open installed Sitebulb software.
  • Now you must β€œCreate a new free account”. You have to type in your β€œFirst Name” (1), β€œLast Name” (2), β€œEmail” (3) and also check the box next to the EULA agreement (4).
  • After you fill in with your data, click on β€œRegister”.
  • Now you have to verify your account. As the message below says.
  • You should find β€œWelcome to Sitebulb!” email in your mailbox. Open it.
  • Then click on β€œConfirm Your Account”.
  • Now you have to pick a β€œPassword” and set three security questions.
  • After that, click on β€œConfirm & Create Password”.
  • You will be granted with β€œThanks for signing up” message.
  •  Now you can go back to Sitebulb software.

Checking for Broken Redirects with Sitebulb

  • Go back to Sitebulb software, now you can β€œSign In” with your newly created credentials.
  • Click on β€œStart Free Trial” (or use a license if you have one)
  • After a short introduction click on β€œNew Project” in the upper left corner.
  • Start a new project by entering its β€œProject Name”.
  • Then enter your website URL into the β€œStart URL” box. (Remember to choose HTTP:// or https:// accordingly).
  • Check β€œForms authentication required” box if your website requires signing in to access the content.
  • Click on β€œSave and Continue”.
  • Wait for Sitebulb to prepare your audit settings.
  • After that, you should set β€œAudit Type” and β€œCrawler Type” as below. (It should be set that way automatically but check it before proceeding).
  • You can add some additional data for your audit but for this SOP and its topic we will stay with β€œPage Resources” as it is all that you need.
  • Check the box next to the β€œCrawl Website” under β€œSelect URLs sources to Audit” section.
  • Click on β€œStart Now”.
  • Then wait for the audit to complete.
  • After completion, choose β€œAll Hints” on the upper bar.
  • Navigate to β€œRedirects” section.
  • You can click on β€œLearn more […]” to check Sitebulbs’ article about the issue and a potential fix.
  • If there is a problem with a small number of URLs you can click on β€œView URLs” and manually check the redirect.
  • Click on the β€œMenu button” next to the affected URL.
  • Then choose β€œURL Details”.
  • There you will find all data required to locate broken redirect with corresponding status code – β€œHTTP Status” for each of the URLs.
  • If your audit shows a greater number of URLs with broken redirects…
  • …you should Click on β€œExport all to Google Sheets”.
  • Select β€œGoogle Account” you wish to use or add a new account.
  • Come up with a β€œName for imported sheet”.
  • Then click on β€œExport and Upload”.
  • Wait for the process to finish.
  • Now open your report by choosing to move to the β€œGoogle Drive Folder” or β€œView Google Sheet” directly.
  • Your report will be split into three tabs. β€œSummary” tab contains a summary of the issues found during the audit…
  • …and will look like that.
  • Now move to β€œInternal redirected URLs”.
  • Here you will find a list of all internal redirected URLs with pieces of information about β€œFirst Parental URL”, β€œRedirect URL” and β€œHTTP Status Code”. Again refer to THIS article to check status codes.
  • Now move to β€œExternal redirected URLs”
  • Here you will find a list of all external redirected URLs with pieces of information about β€œFirst Parental URL”, β€œRedirect URL” and β€œHTTP Status Code”.

Repairing Broken Redirects

Now you know how to find broken redirects. Fixing them should be easy in most cases. You can always contact your developer to do it. We will mark some easy solutions you can implement on your own.

  1. Reach out to the linking site and request a fix. Try to contact a website that causes a broken redirect, they should fix it.
  1. Redirect (301 status code) the broken page to the new location. If you change URL of a page and forget to redirect just find the new page location and implement the redirect.
  1. Replace the content at the broken URL.
  2. Redirect (301) the broken page to another relevant page on your website.
  3. Leave as a 404 custom page. You can always leave a broken link as 404 page if you can’t recall what was on the page. You should use a custom 404 page in that case. Check our SOP on that topic.

Keep all your redirects in good shape! Valid redirects will allow your website traffic to stay in top condition without any traffic jams!

Check and Fix Redirect Chains

🎯 What’s the goal?Detect and fix any broken redirects on your website or leading to it. ⚠️ Why does it matter?Broken redirects make for a bad user experience. Content of your website may be inaccessible. Audiences could get frustrated and may never return. They devalue your SEO efforts. 🏁 What’s the result?Your website doesn’t contain […]
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