Yes, redirect chains can hurt SEO. A redirect chain occurs when there are multiple redirects between the original URL and the final destination URL. For example, if a page redirects to another page, which then redirects to a third page, this creates a redirect chain.
Redirect chains can negatively impact SEO in several ways:
- They can slow down page load times, which can hurt user experience and decrease rankings.
- They can dilute the link equity that would have been passed on if the redirect had been direct. For instance, if there are multiple redirects between the original URL and the final destination URL, the link equity is diluted with each redirect, making the final destination URL weaker.
- They can confuse search engine crawlers and lead to indexing issues, which can also harm rankings.
To avoid these negative impacts, it is best to use direct redirects wherever possible, and to limit the number of redirects in a chain. Ideally, it's best to have only one redirect per URL.