Redirect 301 and Page Rank – Some important discoveries

From time to time you will need to redirect an entire website or one single page on a site to a new address. The most popular method to redirect such requests is the „redirect 301” method. However the question is whether this might harm your Page Rank and Google rankings or not? Find my discoveries on the relationship between Redirect 301 and Page Rank.

The answer to the question is that a 301 redirect might in fact harm your Page Rank and SERP. The best authority on this subject is probably Matt Cutts from Google, so take a look at the following video and listen to what he has to say on the subject.

What does Matt say about redirect 301 and Page Rank?

Marviene wrote a comment to the embedded video on YouTube, where she explained what Matt says in an easy way. She said: „Matt says the exact same amount is lost as would be if it wasn’t a 301. Imagine this: you get an external link coming to Page 1, then your Page 1 links internally to Page 2. Link to page 1 gets x amount of page rank from the link. Link to page 2 gets x-y. Therefore a link to 301 gets x and the page that the 301 points to gets x-y. So: x-y is better than it disappearing altogether, but try avoiding creating this situation.” The conclusion of Marviene is also very good saying that you should avoid this situation as much as possible, but if you can’t, then a 301 is much better than nothing at all.

Personal redirect 301 experiences

I have used redirect 301 in many situations myself and in general I have never seen to many negative side effects using it. However after Christmas I took one page and moved it from a subdomain to a brand new domain and used 301 as always before. Beneath you can see what Google Analytics and its statistics tell me about the time before and after the redirect.

Redirect 301 and page rank

Look at my statistics before and after redirect 301

I must admit that it is a static site that I am not working much with and all I did was a simple redirect and I have not been working with incoming links, social media or other SEO topics since the move. In addition the site was located at a domain with good authority before the move, but since it moved to a brand new domain without any authority that might also influence the matter. Still it has been interesting for me to see that the redirect 301 actual had an impact on my site, in a negative way.

This is not meant to scare people away from redirecting sites, but I guess one should be prepared to do some extra work afterwards updating links, working with SEO and bringing incoming links directly to the new address, not to lose „rank” with lots of redirects pointing to the new site.

Have you had any positive or negative experience using redirect 301? Would love to hear from you guys and girls out there!

1 Comment

  1. Jeremy Myers

    Interesting. I have hundreds of 301s on my site from years ago when I moved my blog from one folder to another. As I knew nothing about SEO back then (and very little traffic), I have no idea how much PR I might have lost in the migration…. but now I wonder.


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