• http://alexwebmaster.com/ Alex Garrido

    Thanks Barry, this video was really useful, yet I still question if still gives full ranking power to a new site. For instance, I did a migration of a site to a new domain name, all 301 are correct, yet the old site still appears and ranks on search results even thought it is been already several months after the migration was completed (of course, I also notified Google of the change).

  • http://www.shoutmeloud.com/ Harsh Agrawal

    Barry I was reading your article dated 2010, when Eric Enge interviewed Matt, and it says 301 redirect doesn’t affect pass 100% link juice, where as this video clearly states that it passes all the link juice, and in between lines Matt explained how PR works… Trust me I have never been more confused than this after watching Matt video…

    More over, I wonder why Matt never talked about Penguin update on this, as this way unnatural link juice will increase and infact use for negative SEO… I have talked about this in brief here: http://www.shoutmeloud.com/301-redirect-passes-page-rank.html

    Not sure, why Matt Cutts is taking a comfortable seat here, and instead of clearing the doubts he has increased the confusion.. Am I the only one feeling this??

  • http://twitter.com/leejohnson Lee Johnson

    Great timing of your article. I was looking to do a 301 for an old company website tomorrow. Thanks for the update.

  • http://twitter.com/CoachDonDodds Don Dodds

    Perfect timing. I was just having a discussion with some clients who were being misinformed by some SEO “experts”. I noticed in the last 8 or 9 months that the PR was not affected at all by 301 redirects. It’s good to see Matt Cutts clear that up.

  • Alan

    Hmm interesting because it is Matt Cutts in another video who kind of help give that rumor legs but I guess it is just a case of semantics!

  • http://twitter.com/JasonSquardo Jason Squardo

    The confusion seems fairly simple to me. The debate started over whether using a 301 gave your new site all the “link juice” that your old site had. The answer to that is no and has always been no. Saying a 301 passes the same link juice as a regular link does not mean the same thing. You are “leaking/losing” page rank from your old page through your 301 to your new page. As a very basic example, if your original site had a bunch links and you had a Page Rank of 5 and you 301 redirect that site to a new site your new site Page Rank would be a 4.5. Numbers are just for illustration, but you get the point. For awhile many thought that a 301 would still give you the PR 5 on the new site, that is not the case.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=588188254 Jim Hodson

    I don’t see why this is such big news to so many webmasters and SEOs honestly. A few years back when Cutts anounced that 301s did cause a slight loss of PageRank being passed, I knew then the amount lost was likely exactly equal to the amount loss by a link. Blame it on “d”! ;)

    If you’ve studied the original PageRank algorithm in the “The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine” by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the formula is based on a “random surfer” model (read the above document for details if you’ve never seen it). And the formula has built into it a damping factor (“d”) that represents the probability that the random surfer will get bored and navigate directly to another random page rather than click on a link on the current page in their browser. This damping factor is typically set around 85% (or .85) according to the original docs. And I’ve always heard Googlers use figures in the 85-90% range.

    If you really study and absorb the original PageRank formula, you’ll see that the total amount of PageRank available to pass out of a non-redirected page (via its outbound links) is always slightly less than the total amount of PageRank passed into that non-redirected page. The loss, decay, or dissipation of PageRank is due to the damping factor portion of the formula which leads to a 15% loss if the damping factor d=.85 or 85%… or a 10% loss if the damping factor d=.9 or 90%. The value is changable by Google.

    It is this same damping factor that causes that exact same amount (as Matt said in the video) of PageRank to be lost or to decay/dissipate when you 301 redirect a URL. Think about it… If browsers didn’t automatically follow redirects then in a random surfer model, a redirected page would be synonymous with a page that used to have mulitple inbound and outbound links which has had all of it’s outbound links replaced with a single outbound link pointing to the target URL of the 301 redirect. And assuming d=.85 in this scenario (since there is only 1 outbound link on the page) roughly 85% all available PageRank could be passed out on that single link to the target URL of the redirect.

    Why would Google overcomplicate an already very complex PageRank algorithm with an exception to cover 301 redirects when it can simply be treated as a special case (a page with 1 outbound link) that is already covered by the basic algorithm? They likely wouldn’t create exception code because they would want to keep the algorithm/formula as clean and elegant as possible.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=588188254 Jim Hodson

    The new video doesn’t contradict what Cutts said in 2010 to Eric at all. In fact,it says the exact same thing… there is a slight loss of PageRank when you redirect a page.

    What the new video says that the old interview did not (at roughly 1:41 into the video) is that the loss in PageRank due to the 301 redirect is EXACTLY the same as the loss in PageRank for links… the same percentage… roughly 10-15% depending on the setting. The setting he eluded to is the Damping Factor (d) in the PR algorithm/formula.

  • http://twitter.com/si1very Chris Silver Smith

    There are some additional factors that can complicate the results when redirects are set up. If one redirected a page at a legacy URL to a new URL for a page containing the same identical content, we could expect the page’s ranking ability for its main keywords to be impacted only by the amount of the damping factor that affects PR transfer of links, just as Jim Hodson so beautifully outlined here in the comments.

    However, if you redirect a Legacy URL to a page that does not contain the same keyword contents, one can expect the absence of keywords to negatively impact the page’s ranking ability for those keyword terms. For instance, sometimes when a site removes a legacy page, but does not replace it with the same content at a new URL, they will redirect those pages to their homepage or another similar page on their site rather than squander the PageRank on an error page. In this sort of scenario, you not only would lose the PR through the damping factor action, but you’d also potentially lose ranking relevancy for some of the page’s main keyword phrases. Likewise, other additional relevancy factors could further hamper the redirected page’s ranking ability, such as loss of keywords from page Titles, H1s, URL keywords, etc.

  • http://twitter.com/echwa Damien Anderson

    I have a page which has PageRank Value of 1, and has 10 links on it. That link will pass ~0.085 of my PageRank to each of my the target my links from that page.

    If I kill the page, then I can only pass the full amount of PageRank from that page to a single link target by 301 redirect.

    So, by using a 301 to pass the PageRank of a page I am in a way consolidating the power that page can pass.

  • http://twitter.com/Bieze Bieze

    Agreed! This common sense debate somehow keeps getting revisited. What motivation would Google have to make a 301 more or less valuable than a link? Much more valuable and everyone would be building up their 301 portfolios. Too much less and we lose our incentive to ever prune the web.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=588188254 Jim Hodson

    What he is saying that the following two scenarios pass the exact same amount of juice:
    PageA has inbound links and PageA has a single outbound link to PageB
    PageA has inbound links and PageA is 301 redirected to PageB
    The amount of PR that gets passed from PageA to PageB is identical in both of these cases. In both cases roughly 85% of whatever PageRank PageA has accumulated from its inbound links gets passed out on its one outbound link or to the target of the redirect, respectively.

  • Raviraj Tak

    The main thing which I would like to share is that after doing a 301 redirect we do miss out some link juice but that doesn’t mean you won’t get page rank from 301 re-direction’s.

  • webprotech

    I am surprised that Matt Cutts has answered this question .

    I think we consider a 301 redirect only when we have moved the URL permanently or when we want to sort out duplicate content issues.

    Hence, we should consider the purpose of using a 301 server side redirect or meta refresh client side/page side redirect or use a normal link depending on the purpose and not on the basis of how much PageRank will get dissipated.Its high time we came out of the PageRank syndrome.

  • http://twitter.com/grenfeldt Jonas Grenfeldt

    Uhm, who didn’t already know this?

  • http://twitter.com/johnedwarddoyle John Doyle

    For someone who says that we should try and ignore Pagerank, he sure does a lot of videos about Pagerank!

  • Matt O’Toole

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but one of the implications of this is that if your PR should affect Site Architecture decisions, as you have more steps to play with (though links or 301s) with higher PRs than with lower ones. For example, PR of 10 on homepage = 34 steps before PR is diluted to 0.0 (rounded to 1 decimal place); with a PR of 1 on your homepage, you have 20 steps before it’s diluted to 0,0. Correct, no?

  • Guest

    I find this very funny as I remember a video by Matt Cutts saying the opposite

  • Lyndon NA

    Erm – what?

    Statement/Belief 1) 301’s do not pass Full PageRank
    Statement/Belief 2) 301s pass less PageRank than Links

    The first is Not a myth – it is true (and confirmed).
    The second is the myth – but is not the title of this post?

  • Lyndon NA

    Well said James – unfortunately I think it will be lsot in the nosie :D

  • Lyndon NA

    If Google has seen the 301s, then the old URLs should start disappearing.
    If that is not the case – have you confirmed that G is accessing the old URLs, and is receiving the proper 301 to the correct location?

  • http://babypickel.com/vincenzo.html Chenzo

    I am glad this has finally been cleared up ;o)
    your pal

  • http://www.inbound.co.uk/ Nick Pateman

    From first hand experience of 301ing probably in the region of 40 to 50 sites, I have never seen any noticeable drop in rankings or traffic (when moving identical code and content).

    But SEOs can only speak for themselves, I’m sure others have seen very different things.

  • http://www.CoreyCreed.com Corey Creed

    I agree. This article has a bad title.

  • http://alexwebmaster.com/ Alex Garrido

    yes the 301 are pointing to the right direction but for some reason the old urls still appear in SERPS

  • Lyndon NA

    Oh come on – if you are going to downvote – at least step up and put your name to it as well :D

  • James

    Yes, that’s what Cutts is saying, but Barry made it seem (with the title and his description of the video) that Cutts was saying that a 301 from an old domain to a new one doesn’t dilute the pagerank (against everyone’s long held beliefs that DUH it does). Very misleading.

  • http://twitter.com/LauraGrace42 Laura Grace

    Misleading if you don’t know your stuff and/or aren’t reading carefully.

  • http://www.polepositionmarketing.com/ Stoney deGeyter

    Correct me if I’m wrong in my understanding here, but it seems that if Page A links to Page B which redirects to Page C, you lose more PR value than if Page A links directly to Page C. So, while the redirect only loses as much value as a link, in this scenario, you’re losing two links worth rather than just one. So to suggest that 301 redirects are no big deal is incorrect. You’re still better off linking directly to the correct page (whenever possible) than relying on the 301 redirect.

  • http://twitter.com/rickhardman Rick Hardman

    Yes, this is true. However, I can still see the benefit of fixing links when possible to link to the new version of a page. Websites evolve over time and it is possible to have some links going through multiple 301’s because a page url has changed several times – thus losing more juice than necessary. Don’t think your own site, think about some of the nightmares you have run into with clients.

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    There is no such thing as “leaking” or “losing” PageRank. That is absolute nonsense.

  • http://www.facebook.com/derrick.wheeler Derrick Wheeler

    Hi Peops,

    Correct me if I am wrong, but a link pointing to a 301 redirect requires two fetches instead of one to find the final landing page with content and a 200OK.
    If you have a large site, you might want to avoid 301s within your internal navigation if they aren’t necessary. You don’t want the additional fetches that potentially count towards you crawl allotment.
    Most of the talk here seems to be about pointing legacy URLs to new URLs. When you rely on 301 redirects to manage link value and don’t try to update high value links you could end up with a tad of a mess in the future. If you move content again, you’ll need to change the 301s on the original URLs to the newest set of URLs or you will end up with multiple hops to get to a page of content. 10 years from now you will have more 301 redirects than actual pages. I didn’t watch the video because Matt Cutts voice is like nails on a chalkboard. :) Does he say what happens when you have multi-hop 301 redirects?
    One thing I really like about Matt is how hard he tries to debunk myths or provide clarity on a confusing issue. However, no matter how hard he tries, no matter how many diagrams, white boards, blog posts, comments, pictures of his cat, etc., his message still seems to cause just as much confusion as the original issue. It just moves the confusion a little bit to the left or right.
    That’s all I got.

  • http://www.facebook.com/derrick.wheeler Derrick Wheeler

    Are you sure it is not a multi-hop redirect with a 302 stuck in there somewhere? Are you certain the target pages are not inadvertently blocked via meta exclusion or robots.txt? Are you doing anything strange with rel=canonical? Do you want to share an example? Are you experiencing the same issue with other engines? I love troubleshooting.

  • Andy Sheridan

    So… If I’m moving an important landing page from URL1 to URL2, which method should I use to avoid losing PageRank…?

    Method 1:
    Redirect URL1 to URL2 using a 301

    Method 2:
    – Leave URL1 live
    – Duplicate the content on URL2
    – Specify the new URL on the original page using a canonical meta tag
    – Update internal links to use the new URL

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adam-Biju/100000123009951 Adam Biju

    Still confused whether to have 301 or not? I do have a website and I need to change some of the urls for the purpose of validation, 404 and seo. Will redirecting the page to 301 have the same PR and link backs or not?

  • http://www.v2interactive.net/ Josh

    Disagreed. I believe his normal videos are the fluff and these smaller videos really shed light in what Google is really thinking. You say misleading, I say clues to the Coke formula ;-)

  • http://twitter.com/TheModernSEO TheModernSEO

    Good to hear it from the horses mouth, but then we’ve always pretty much known 301’s aren’t worse than a normal link. If 301’s were worse than a regular link then more people would have been posting about it and fewer people would have been using them. Still nice to have Matt confirm…if only he’d post a video on when they are releasing the next Panda update…

  • http://alexwebmaster.com/ Alex Garrido

    Thanks Derrick! I had no problems with Bing. I guess it is just matter of waiting. Google used to do it fast, maybe they are slowing down.

  • Bill Bodge

    Not sure if this is the right place to ask. I am buying a website that consistently shows in top 3 in google organic. The owner is going bankrupt, so it will be some months to rebuild inventory and reopen the site. What is the best way to preserve Pagerank during this down time? Thanks for your help.

  • http://www.offertalk.in/ Pratik Chourdia

    Awesome Topic even i was also thinking the same that as the linking way are different. But this article making it clear that there as no pagerank flow differences between normal and 301 link, Thanks

  • John Biundo

    These videos can sometimes do more harm than good. This is a somewhat complex topic that deserves a full treatment, not something that involves a bunch of hand waving (literally)! No offense Matt, but I’d rather hear nothing, and live with well informed speculation from some brilliant SEO experimenters than try to read between the lines of one of these videos.

    For one thing, since when are links and 301s interchangeable? It’s not like anybody should really be asking “should I 301 or should I direct link?”. The ONLY case where this seems to be a real question is in the mind of a link spammer (hmmm… should I redirect xyz.org to xyz.com, or should I link from xyz.org to xyz.com?)

    Aside from that case, I can think of two important, common use cases, and best practice seems quite clear for both of these. There are many other corner cases where it would also be GREAT to have some real guidance from Google, but that’s probably not going to happen.

    Use case 1: you change an existing URL on your site, creating a new URL and a legacy URL. Of course you should change all internal links to use the new URL (common sense, right? why cause 2 requests to serve the page when 1 makes everyone happier?). Now it is also prudent to put in a 301 redirect from the legacy URL to the new URL because a) you have external inbound links and bookmarks which aren’t going to change; b) you could miss some of your own internal links (of course this shouldn’t happen, but the 301 provides a nice safety net). For your internal links, updating to the new URL means you have introduced no additional overhead (PageRank dilution). For external inbound links, however, you’ve now added an additional bit of PageRank dilution, via the 301. The upshot, of course, is try not to change your URLs if you can possibly help it!

    Use case 2: you are migrating an entire site from an old URL structure to a new one (perhaps, but not necessarily, including a domain change). In this case, yet again, your only real choice is to put a 301 redirect in place from the old URLs to the new. Now, in this case, as SEOs, we are often asked what the impact of such a migration will be (a valid question for those who are considering their options). This starts to become a somewhat tricky question (Chris Silver Smith touches nicely on some of the issues), but in the simplest case (a straight up domain move with no content changes), it should be expected that you’re introducing some PageRank dilution, and this should cause a small, but temporary, impact on rankings.

    My experience is that this small, temporary impact can be observed to occur during many site migrations. What’s interesting is that Google appears to treat this case somewhat specially. That is, if you’re moving a site to a new domain, and you’re therefore required to use 301 redirects to retain referral and direct traffic, then it’s somewhat unfair to impose an extra loss of PageRank. In this case, it would seem reasonable that Google wants to impose a short waiting period to verify that what’s happening is a legitimate site move (and not some black hat shenanigans), and then it appears happy to pass along all SEO ranking factors (link juice, PageRank, whatever) to the new site.

    By the way, I don’t have enough data to prove this, but I believe that using the site move feature of Webmaster Tools can either eliminate, or cut down on this temporary impact, and it definitely should be used in site moves!

    So again, the simple rule is this: “if the URL changes (and please don’t change it if you don’t have to!), 301 from old to new”. If you have to do this, you should expect some PageRank dilution from external inbound links. Fortunately, site moves seem to recover from this dilution nicely over time. If you’re thinking about a 301 for any other reason, you’re probably trying to manipulate PageRank, and, well, good luck.

  • Sandeep Gulati

    It’s confusing from the title because there is some loss of page rank from our old page (Page A) through 301 to new page (Page B). Also doesn’t get passed straight away compared to normal links.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=689191538 Ben Thompson

    What is the go if you’re 301 redirecting a 404’d page to somewhere else on the website? Say someone posts a link on a forum that is to an invalid page (one that doesn’t actually exist) and google crawls it. That URL comes up in webmaster tools as being a 404 on my website. Currently I redirect that to my homepage. Would it be negatively affecting my homepage as its meant to pass on page rank? Or for example, we have a few pages on the internet from an old forum we had. We don’t have this forum anymore, so all those urls are redirected to the homepage. Would it be better to change the redirect to our search page or something instead?

  • http://trafficblogcafe.com/ Jaime Jay

    gotta question… if I’m migrating content from an old site to a new site, and I’m going to use a 301 redirect, should I use the old site’s domain in the 301 redirect to maintain the traffic on the new site domain?

  • mike

    When I typed these words into any search engine: “301 redirect for sale” , “301 link juice for sale” I thought I would see thousands of natural and paid listings. What? Nobody wants to buy instant link juice and instant rankings? My thoughts are that 301s do not pass much link juice and a URL change tanks the site.