How Long Do 301 Redirects Last?

Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes addressed a persistent question: How long do 301 redirects last? His answer: one year. But like many things with Google, there’s a bit more to it. Illyes goes on to explain that even after the redirect is removed, the signals do not go back to the origin page but stick with the destination page. So the answer to, “How long do 301s need to be alive to permanently move a page in Google’s eyes?” The answer is one year.

Let’s back up and explain that in detail.

There’s more to it!

For years, Google has recommended that you keep a redirect live for one year for Google Search purposes. If that redirect is live for a year, all the signals from the original page will be transferred to the destination page and stay with it even after the redirect is removed. Illyes also confirmed the one year mark starts when Google first crawls the page, not when the page itself was created. This also applies as long as there is no change to the redirected link. So, if you create a new inbound link to the origin page but there is no longer a redirect in place, then it gets crawled again as a normal page, and no value is passed along to the redirected link.

Google updated its site move instructions with the following, as listed in section six: “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. 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.”

That means that once the redirect is removed, any new signals pointing to the origin page will not be passed along. If a signal was already passed to the new destination, it will stay there “no matter what.”

How long should you maintain your redirects?

This is more about managing and maintaining your redirects for search AND users. Hot takes:

  • Your redirect needs to be alive and well for at least 1 year from the day Google crawls it.
  • If anything changes in the status of that redirect, the 1-year clock resets.
  • Leave the redirect up indefinitely for users since it’s unlikely all inbound links to the old page will be updated.
  • Redirects do slow down the user experience.
  • Updating links from your old pages to the new pages is good practice.