When you’re changing the structure of your website, changing your primary domain or creating better URLs for SEO purposes, you want to keep the values of your old URLs and move them to the new URLs. Luckily there’s an easy solution for that: 301 redirects. 301 redirects let your server tell the visitor (or search engine) that the page they are trying to visit has been moved permanently to another location. Visitors will be sent to the new location directly. Search engines will try to remove the old URL out of their index and move the value of that page to the new location. For some time now Google is telling us that 301 redirects are the proper way of redirecting your pages. However 301 redirects seem not so good for SEO after all.
301 redirects and PageRank
An import measure of the value of a page for Google is the PageRank. When you’re moving your pages you would want all of the PageRank from the original pages to be relocated to the new locations you specify in your 301 redirects. But in an interview in January with Eric Enge, Matt Cutts confirmed that with using a 301 redirect there might be some loss of PageRank. Too bad Matt didn’t really explain why. In my opinion moving a page, shouldn’t make that page of any less value. It’s still the same page with the same information people originally linked to. Imagine changing your company name or optimizing you URLs for SEO purposes. You would be forced to change all the URLs of your website and you would lose a little bit of PageRank for every redirect. But that means losing a little bit of PageRank for every page on your website and decreasing the authority of your whole site. (more…)