In a recent interview with Matt Cutts, a very interesting topic came to light. In discussion, the topic of 301 redirects came up and how it relates to PageRank. More specifically, is there a loss of PageRank if you use 301 redirects to change URLs? Matt Cutts stated that he thought there probably would be some loss in these instances.
“Matt Cutts: That’s a good question, and I am not 100 percent sure about the answer. I can certainly see how there could be some loss of PageRank. I am not 100 percent sure whether the crawling and indexing team has implemented that sort of natural PageRank decay, so I will have to go and check on that specific case. (Note: in a follow on email, Matt confirmed that this is in fact the case. There is some loss of PR through a 301).”
What exactly are we talking about here? Well, let’s just say you have a website such as: www.mywebsite.com/mineisthebestproductever.php, and you want to know if changing that URL via a 301 redirect to www.mywebsite.com/mine-is-the-best-product-ever.php will perhaps give you an advantage for keyword targeting. In short, no, the benefit of spacing out the keyword within the URL will not outweigh the loss of PR over time.
In many cases, you do not need to change your URL’s. If you create content effectively on the correct page, there should be no reason to use 301 redirects within your existing site.
A scenario where you may not be able to avoid utilizing 301 redirects is when you are creating a brand new website with SEO in mind. In this situation, using 301 redirects is unavoidable because you will be creating new pages, deleting old ones and moving content around to fit your new website structure. This is an acceptable use of 301’s because they are needed to restructure the site. Any loss seen in PageRank, will be made up in the future IF you build your site correctly with SEO in mind.
Some tips to remember:
Changing URL’s for the sake of getting more keyword relevance or to move content is not worth it from an SEO standpoint. Plan your content wisely and consult professionals when redesigning your website for the best possible results.
Google Analytics defines bounce rate as “the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page.” Wikipedia defines it as “the percentage of initial visitors to a site who bounce away to a different site, rather than continue on to other pages within the same site.”
Both of these above definitions basically say the same thing. What a marketer needs to know is that the lower the bounce rate, the better. So what is considered a good bounce rate? There are actually many different opinions on this. Some experts say that 50% is average and anything lower is considered above average. Others say that a number below 30% is what you should be striving for.
Monitoring your bounce rate can be a very valuable tool, but also a bit misleading and therefore should definitely not be the only way you are measuring your performance. A high bounce rate typically translates into a visitor that was not sufficiently engaged and left your site without so much as visiting a second page. A high bounce rate is also an indication that your visitor was not as qualified as you had hoped for.
That being said, this may not always hold true for lead generation sites. Think about it this way…lets say that you’re running a Pay per Click (PPC) Campaign, you have a lead generation site and you are sending visitors directly to your form page. If a visitor fills out the form and your website is not configured correctly (in other words, the URL does not change when the form is filled out), this could result in a “bounce” when in actuality, your searcher completed the desired action item. This often occurs with blogs, as well. Visitors will reach your blog, read all of the way through and then exit when done. For this reason, blogs tend to have a high bounce rate, as well.
While I encourage you to pay attention to your bounce rate, as it can be a useful way to gauge progress, other factors should also considered, such as time on site, landing page quality, percentage of new visitors, etc.