Do 301 redirects affect your Google rankings?Using 301 redirects to tell search engines when a page is permanently moved to a new location is definitely an SEO best practice.Read on to find out if there is a link between 301 redirects and improved rankings.
Claim: 301 redirects are a ranking factor
What is a 301 redirect?
301 redirectis a server-side redirect to a URL that has been permanently changed.
You would use a 301 redirect when:
- you willHTTP to HTTPS.
- you are fromold domainTransfer to a new domain.
- you areOptimize URL slug for existing posts and pages.
- You are migrating to a new website platform and your pages will be changed fromhttps://domain.com/page.htmlchange tohttps://domain.com/page/.
? :Most discussions around 301 redirects focus onPageRankWhether to transfer from the old URL to the new URL.Or, if there are inbound links to the old URL, will they be automatically applied to the new URL?
Evidence that 301 redirects are not a ranking factor
Not much is officially said about 301 redirects as a ranking factor.
Matt Cutts, who was the head of Google's WebPam team at the time, said that Google would follow an unlimited number of redirects from one page to another.
Google will even make multiple jumps if one page is redirected to another and then redirected over and over again.He noted that the Google bot might stop following redirects after four or five hops.
Cutts confirmed that in 301 redirects, a small percentage of PageRank was lost.While some SEO pros give a 15% loss, Cutts doesn't give a specific percentage.
In one article, John Mueller answered a question about redirecting HTTP from PageRank to HTTP.
He assured webmasters:
"Any bigger site change is subject to fluctuations. We can't make any guarantees, but our systems are generally pretty good at HTTP->HTTPS moves."
"...no loss of PageRank for 301 or 30.2 redirects from HTTP to HTTPS."
John further confirmed that HTTPS is a lightweight ranking factor when discussing how SSL affects website search rankings.Redirecting a website from HTTP to HTTPS is the closest thing to a 301 redirect to a ranking factor.
Mueller discusses the possible SEO impact of chaining multiple 301 redirects together.Redirects can negatively impact speed.Also worth noting: Google can only crawl up to five "hops" in the redirect chain.
Google has updated its guidelines for redirects and Google Search in its advanced SEO documentation.It confirms that, of all redirect types, 301 redirects are the most likely to be crawled correctly.
Specifically, Google states:
"...server-side redirects have the highest chance of being correctly interpreted by Google."
Temporary HTTP and meta refreshes are least likely to be handled correctly by Google bots.
301 Redirects as a Ranking Factor: Our Verdict
The only time you might experience a boost is when going from HTTP to HTTPS due to the use of 301 redirects.
In the above case, it was HTTPS, not a 301 redirect, that was identified as a lightweight ranking factor.
When used properly, 301 redirects shouldn't affect your site's search rankings.
Now you have the answer - 301 redirects do not lose PageRank and are not a disincentive.Couldn't be clearer.