Google: We Recommend You Not Use Meta-Refresh

Jul 21, 2011 • 8:35 am | comments (3) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

meta refreshGoogler, JohnMu said in a Google Webmaster Help thread that you are better off not using the meta refresh HTML tag.

In response to why one webmaster was seeing unusual error reports in Google Webmaster Tools, John noticed the site was using the meta refresh tag. In response, he said:

In general, we recommend not using meta-refresh type redirects, as this can cause confusion with users (and search engine crawlers, who might mistake that for an attempted redirect). This is likely where the warning you saw came from. This is currently not causing any problems with regards to crawling, indexing, or ranking, but it would still be a good idea to remove that.

John made a point to say that this is not impacting his rankings or crawling but he did recommend the site remove the meta tag.

There are many sites out there that use it, for no real good reason, so if you do, maybe drop it.

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

Previous story: Daily Search Forum Recap: July 20, 2011


Richard Trethewey

07/21/2011 04:58 pm

I've been following the status of refresh for nearly ten years now.  Around 2002, I was checking the backlinks of a site and discovered that Google had treated a refresh as a 301 redirect, passing a link that had originally pointed to a Geocities site through to the site owner's new independent domain.  It was a bit of a shock since the conventional wisdom at the time was that a refresh risked severe penalties because the tag had been frequently used by spammers and hackers.  Soon after, I found that all of the major search engines had started to treat a refresh as a 301 redirect.  It was a very sensible approach, of course, since it allowed webmasters who couldn't use .htaccess or other server control methods to easily redirect from free hosts to conventional domains and hosting.  I never found any official endorsement of the practice, but the situation remained unchanged until about two years ago when Google's blog posts and comments from employees like John Mu started recommending against the practice while still stopping short of explicitly warning of trouble.  I suspect that the search engines are trying to get webmasters to use the rel="canonical" tag instead of a refresh, since that's now the universally-endorsed mechanism.


07/21/2011 10:23 pm

Google Web master to arising error report for meta refresh type redirect, But it can't effect on the crawling and ranking of the site potions. dealsbell

Jacques Bouchard

04/08/2014 09:12 pm

Exactly what I was looking for. Thanks, Barry.

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