I would like to share with you a mini experiment I conducted lately and the utterly surprising results, which I honestly didn’t expect.
The test was simple – we 301 redirected a recently removed blog post to a new published blog post, where the content is 100% different.
What I expected to see?
- According to Google, 301 redirecting to a completely irrelevant page, can be considered as a soft 404. To be more accurate, it indicates “redirecting all pages to homepage” but the same goes for product pages, so we can easily conclude between the lines that you every redirection, just as canonicalization, must be to a relevant page. I expected to see the old URL as a soft 404.
- Indexation – the main aim of this test, was trying to see if we can encourage Google to index the new blog post.
Lusha , have been experiencing indexation issues lately, has been especially challenging indexing the latest blog posts.
Since November, no matter what we’ve done, internal links from other related blog posts, even links from the main menu, got stuck at “crawled currently not indexed”.
This was an attempt to see if this redirection, even if conducted to different content, will encourage Googlebot to index this page.
What actually happened?
Not what I expected, at all.
After inspecting the URL in Google Search Console, although Google picked the redirect as a user-declared canonical, it chose to keep the old URL, the inspected URL
In other words, Google choose to keep the old URL indexed – https://www.lusha.com/blog/crm-are-you-getting-the-most-out-of-yours/
What’s more interesting to see, is the referring pages, as indicated above, links only to the new blog post (as a reminder – with a completely different topic and content) – https://www.lusha.com/blog/sales-enablement/
I searched with text a snippet from the new article. The old URL was indexed, BUT with the content and Meta Title of the new article:
So, I was intrigued to check the impressions for the old URL. Surprisingly, we have started to see impressions for the new blog post about “sales enablement”:
All that’s while the original URL , is STILL not indexed
To sum it up
- We 301 redirect old blog post that had been removed to a new published post, with a different URL, and with completely different content.
- Googlebot (till now) hasn’t indexed the new blog post
- However, the old URL ranks for the content from the new blog post
What do you think? Has anyone experienced something similar?