MoreVisibility Update: Do 301 Redirects Pass PageRank?

Matt Crowley - February 27, 2013

Matt Cutts, Distinguished Engineer from Google posted a video update on Tuesday (2/25/13) on the topic of “What Percentage of PageRank is Lost Through a 301 Redirect?”

What Matt Cutts clarified yesterday is that no extra PageRank is lost when using a single 301 redirect.

In the video he says “the amount of PageRank that dissipates through a 301 is currently identical to the amount of PageRank that dissipates through a link.” It has been common knowledge for a long time that when web page A links to web page B, although minimal, some amount of PageRank is lost. However, it was believed that more PageRank would be lost if a 301 redirect is used.

With a 301 redirect, web page A is linking to web page B that 301 redirects to web page C. Due to past comments by Google; it was believed that a slight amount more of PageRank was lost when a 301 redirect was used to connect web page A to web page C when compared to a direct link. This is certainly not the case. According to Google, a single 301 redirect does not pass any less PageRank to the destination page when compared to a direct link.

However; it is also important to note that he says:

  • “use whatever is best for your purposes”
  • “we don’t promise that it will be that way for all time and eternity”

As always, it is important to be cautious and look at all of the factors before implementing any 301 redirects, such as:

  • While the amount of inbound link value may be equal; that may not be the most important factor when considering the use of a 301 redirect.
  • 301 redirects are intended to be used as a permanent signal that the old page will not be returning.
  • 301 redirects are intended to be used to deliver the user to a new and equally relevant page: 301 redirecting a lot of pages to non-relevant pages is not a best practice.
  • Using a 301 redirect can, and often does have an impact on how the new and old pages are indexed; such as the amount of time it takes for search engines to reflect the change in their search engine results pages.
  • If not done properly, using 301 redirects can have a negative affect.
  • If you chain multiple 301 redirects together, the PageRank and overall link value may dissipate more rapidly, and search engines may eventually stop following the redirects.

It is important to ensure that you take an in-depth look at the reasons to and possible outcomes of implementing redirects. You can find the video from Matt Cutts here:

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