How Many 301s Are Too Many?

Google’s Matt Cutts talks about multiple domains and 301 redirects in one of the recent videos uploaded to the Google Webmaster Central YouTube channel.

The question essentially asks if Google views the redirecting of many domains toward one domain as a sign of suspicious activity. Matt’s answer is that there are many companies — Google included — that own a lot of domains and have valid reasons to point them at the main domain. The additional domains might be typos or misspellings, or extra domains that are related to a company’s brand.

But he also says that 301s can be abused as a spam tactic, and that having a “ton” of domains redirecting to one domain might cause Google to take a look and see what’s going on.

Here’s the full, 90-second video below.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: SEO | Google: Webmaster Central | How To: SEO | SEO: Domain Names & URLs | SEO: Redirects & Moving Sites


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • CarrieHill

    I would love to see a followup video from Matt that addresses how many time a url can be redirected before it’s “too many” for Example is redesigned & becomes – seo firm comes on board and does some optimization – url becomes:

    is that too many redirects? would we be better off NOT rewriting urls when we (seo agency) take over a site? Not only is #3 more search friendly – it’s MUCH more user friendly – so does Google CARE?

    my 2cents – just curious about how much is “too much”


  • tinywookie

    Love to hear matt talk.
    – Carrie
    Quick question. why would option 3 in your example be any different the option 2 from a redirect point of view. we had a scenario once where we had redirected a large amount of urls from query string based urls to name based urls then several months later we wanted to add in some other keywords to the names so we changed them again.

    when we setup the redirects for the second set of urls to go to the new urls we also changed the redirects for the original urls to point to the new urls instead of the second set of urls.

    This avoids the jump then jump again issue your talking about. we also spent a lot of time cleaning up any external and internal links pointing to any outdated urls to help get the links to them out of the index.

    Hope this helps

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