An update from Google has said that if a redirect has been in place on your website for a year, it will now pass permanent signals even if you remove the redirect between the old and new URL.
In the past, Google has informally recommended that you keep redirects setup on your website for one year or more. This week, however, Google’s Gary Illyes tweeted what he called a “concrete answer” that you should keep redirects in place for at least a year, as this is the minimum time it takes Google to forward all signals to the new URL to which traffic is being rediverted.
hands up if you asked us recently for how long you should keep redirects in place!
i have a concrete answer now: at least 1 year.
(but try keeping them indefinitely if you can for your users).
— Gary 鯨理／경리 Illyes (@methode) July 21, 2021
However, the tweet went on to say that Google recommends webmasters keep the redirects indefinitely. This would be advisable because if any external links are pointing to the original URL, users who click through to your website be presented with a 404 error, which can cause a poor user experience and prompt visitors to leave your site, resulting in higher bounce rates.
If you have any internal links to the old URL, the best practice would be to change this link to the new URL. This is because redirects can take some time to load and can cause your website visitors to lose patience and leave your website.
The Google’s Developers site has also now been updated to give the same advice:
“Keep the redirects for as long as possible, generally at least 1 year. This timeframe allows Google to transfer all signals to the new URLs, including recrawling and reassigning links on other sites that point to your old URLs.”
It continues to give advice about user experience:
“From users’ perspective, consider keeping redirects indefinitely. However, redirects are slow for users, so try to update your own links and any high-volume links from other websites to point to the new URLs.”
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