Redirect Issue with IIS

I'm not sure if this is just an IIS 6.0 issue, but that's where I just ran into it.

A user of the SEO Browser contacted us today because the browser couldn't load his site. That wouldn't have been so bad if it wasn't for Google ALSO not apparently being able to load his site (it was unindexed). However, browsers loaded it just fine.

It took some investigating, but I finally found the issue. The site was set to redirect visitors to the domain root to an internal page. No problem. The redirect was the default 302 that IIS uses. Ok, a bit of a problem, but not enough to stop Google or the SEO Browser from loading it.

But buried in the HTTP headers ( I used SEO Consultants "Check Server Headers Tool") I found this directive:

FollowRedirects=False; Server requested redirection, but sent no new location.

Oops. If you set a redirect (301 or 302) but then say that you should not follow any redirects, strange things happen to your site as the two incompatible directives play out.

In this case, browsers (Firefox and IE) followed the redirect and ignored the server directive saying they should not.

Spiders (Googlebot and the SEO Browser) acknowledged that a redirect existed, but also acknowledged that the server was telling them not to follow it. Therefore they did what they were told and stopped.

Naturally, the fix is a very simple checkbox telling IIS to set the FollowRedirects=False to FollowRedirects=True.

I've never encountered this issue before, but I thought I'd share, since it might help someone out there in the future. I'll see if I can have this issue detected by the SEO Browser, as well.


PS I need to blog more often. I feel a New Years Resolution coming on...