• Yclept21
  • http://www.agent-seo.com/ Jacob Stoops

    Great article Tom. I’d also add canonicalization as a way to help with some of this, albeit not a 100% replacement for proper 301 redirects…

  • http://tambnguyen.com/ Tam Nguyen Photography

    Off topic: should the links to those external sites be target=”_blank”?

  • ScottyMack

    hmmm … lets say the original website, usedtobegreat.com, has a decent base of loyal repeat customers but bad linking practices caused the site to crash and burn in the rankings. If I am reading this correctly, it seems like you might be able to have your cake and eat it too by setting up a new domain, greatagain.com, and using a 302 to re-direct usedtobegreat.com customers to greatagin.com. None of the ill effects from the bad links would pass on to the new website and you could start fresh and build solid links to the new website.

  • Thomas Schmitz

    Hi Scotty,

    Since you 301 URLs, not links, unless you carefully select which URLs to forward you’ll be redirecting evil links to the new domain. Of course, as soon as you set-up redirects Google will know about the relationship between the old and new domain. Right now, for Google, it’s better to start fresh once you burn a domain. Bing has a Disavow Links tool that Google may soon offer. When/if this happens you may be able to cleanse a domain in Webmaster Tools.

  • Thomas Schmitz

    For SEO this does not make a significant difference.

  • Thomas Schmitz

    I totally agree. To be honest, I was flabbergasted by all the 302 redirects I found in my small survey. I feel strongly that getting the word out about this one issue can have a widespread positive impact.

  • ScottyMack

    I did not say 301 the URL’s. That would obviously do no good. I said 302 them. If none of the authority gets passed along with a 302, none of the bad stuff will follow. At the same time, your customers will still be able to find you. This is obviously only a solution to a website that is unrecoverable because of bad links and the owner has elected to start all over with a new URL.

  • http://www.interneta-vietnes.lv Una

    Could you explain why local redirect (based on IP) must to be 302, not 301? For example when a visitor who lives in France comes to a site example.com a redirect to example.com/fr/ must to be 302?

  • http://twitter.com/stevejohnston Steve Johnston

    Hi Tom. I don’t buy it. Are you really suggesting that if a site 302s its root domain to its homepage.jsp home page that none of the domain authority will pass to it, and therefore the home page links will have no reputation to distribute into the site? I think Google is smarter than this.

  • http://tambnguyen.com/ Tam Nguyen Photography

    No, but for Analytics, it does. Like I said, off topic :)

  • Thomas Schmitz

    I’m going to respectfully disagree. 302 forwarding a domain address, like http://www.name.com to a dedicated homepage URL like
    http://www.name.com/homepage.html cuts-off any off-site link authority pointing at the domain address from getting to the homepage.

    In the described situation, does it matter if the domain URL is indexed? Without content it is unlikely to appear in search results. The homepage URL will, so why not make certain the homepage has the maximum possible authority?
    As for mixed case, URLs are case sensitive.
    http://www.w3.org/TR/WD-html40-970708/htmlweb.html It is a risk for search engines to assume that a lower case version of a URL is the same as a mixed or upper case version of the same URL so I recommend playing it safe by rewriting all URLs to lower case.

  • Thomas Schmitz

    Thanks for weighing in John.
    Are you saying 302 forwarding a domain address, like http://www.name.com to a dedicated homepage URL like
    http://www.name.com/homepage.html does not cuts-off any off-site link authority pointing to the domain address from getting to the homepage?
    Why not make certain the homepage has the maximum possible authority?

    Does Google treat URLs as case insensitive? URLs are case sensitive.
    http://www.w3.org/TR/WD-html40-970708/htmlweb.html If memory serves me right, a Google engineer said search engines do not assume that a lower case version of a URL is the same as a mixed or upper case version of the same URL. We SEOs like to play it safe by rewriting all URLs to lower case.

  • Alec Bertram

    My reasoning would be to look at the behaviour of Google. i.e. If you have an image that gets into image search, that image will remain there until the URL returns a 404 status code – if you replace the content but keep it as status 200, the image remains in the index for a long time; this suggests that when Gbot is *sure* of something, it may only do a superficial crawl of the HTTP headers.

    By setting a local variant as 301, you’re telling Gbot that the local page is the permanent authoritative homepage for the domain – in the future, it may do a similar superficial crawl and skip straight to the local variant. By using a 302, Google knows that you mean the local variant is the correct one *this time* rather than *always*.

  • Thomas Schmitz

    Here is the bottom line for me: 302 redirects do not pass PageRank (aka authority, link juice, etc.) Since we do not know whether or not search engines make an exception for homepages — I have never read or heard a Google spokesperson say “We pass PageRank through 302 redirects in X, Y and Z situations” — why risk using a 302 redirect when we can set-up the forwarding as a 301 redirect?

  • Steven

    Interesting article, I need to do some research and see what I find out as I’m unsure either way if this redirect passes link juice or not.

  • Career IT World

    That is really cool

    http://www.careeritworld.com/