On Monday, Search Engine Land posted an article by Barry Schwartz with the title “Google: PageRank Dilution Through A 301 Redirect Is A Myth“. The post includes a video of Matt Cutts (also posted here) explaining that there is no more dilution for a 301 redirect than for a link. One of the comments on the Search Engine Land post mentioned that this seems to be the opposite of what Matt Cutts told Eric Enge in a 2010 interview. Because I’m working with a pretty well known brand going through a major re-platform, I wanted to get to the bottom of it. Should they worry about doing outreach to high authority sites to get the links changed to the new URLs or just let the 301 redirect handle it? I’m still not sure.
It’s seems very clear in the video. Matt says “having a link is exactly the same as having a 301 redirect“. I went back to Eric Enge’s interview and re-read it. Matt initially said he “could see how there could be some loss of PR in a 301 redirect”. Eric later updated the post indicating that Matt followed up with him confirming that yes, there is a loss of PR in a 301 redirect. In this interview, Matt also didn’t specify and it wasn’t mentioned that there is also dilution with links.
Ok, so Google simply changed the way they pass link juice with 301 redirect, right? I don’t know. Matt says in this video that it’s been this way for “some time”. What’s still causing me to question whether or not a 301 redirect is really the same as a link in terms of passing authority is that 301 redirects are actually two links. First there’s the link and when the browser or search engine hits that link there’s a redirect to another link. So, if a link loses 15% of its value, wouldn’t that mean that a 301 redirect loses 30% of its value because it’s really two links? Or is the first link diluted by 15%, the redirect 15% and the final link another 15%?. I’d like to think they are exactly the same but I’m still not sure.
What are your thoughts on this?