What percentage of PageRank is lost through a 301 redirect?

By | November 6, 2019


MALE SPEAKER: Today’s question
comes from the United Kingdom. Sam Harries asks, roughly what
percentage of page rank is lost through a 301 redirect? Ah, great question, Sam. I’ve been meaning to talk about
this for a long time. Let me give you the
history on this. At some point, an SEO wrote to
me privately and said, hey, I’m wondering how much page rank
disappears when you have a 301 redirect. I wrote back and said, OK,
why is that on your mind? And they said, well, the
historical page rank papers always said that 10%, 15%,
whatever amount of page rank gets lost, given any
particular link. So from page A to page
B, there’s a link. The page rank that flows is,
take the page rank and multiply by 0.85, 0.9, whatever
it is, and then take the remaining links and divide
that page rank equally between the outgoing links. So a certain amount of page rank
dissipates on each link. If 301s don’t have that sort of
dissipation, then instead of linking, I should do all my
stuff with 301s, and I won’t lose my page rank. And I’ll have 10% more
page rank, and more things will rank. And so you don’t want people
thinking along those lines, where they’re going to shoot
themselves in the foot trying to use 301s instead of links. And so at the next search
conference, where it happened to be convenient, I mentioned
that a certain amount of page rank also dissipates
through 301s. And unfortunately, then the
pendulum swung too far the other direction. People started to get worried,
oh, if I use a 301, how much page rank do I lose? And so I sent an email to the
team that is in charge of this, and, of course, the
implementation can vary over time, but this has
been roughly the same for quite awhile. The amount of page rank that
dissipates through a 301 is almost exactly– is currently identical to the
amount of page rank that dissipates through a link. So they are utterly the same in
terms of the amount of page rank that dissipates going
through a 301 versus a link. So that doesn’t mean
use a 301. It doesn’t mean use a link. It means use whatever is best
for your purposes, because you don’t get to horde or conserve
any more page rank if you use a 301, and likewise,
it doesn’t hurt you if you use a 301. So great chance to just sort of
clear that up a little bit. It’s exactly like
having a link. That’s the current
implementation. We don’t promise that it
will be that way for all time and eternity. But I don’t see any reason why
in particular it would change. So thank you for asking
the question. Great chance to clear that up.

68 thoughts on “What percentage of PageRank is lost through a 301 redirect?

  1. James McWhorter Post author

    Thank you for clearing this up, Matt. I've always wondered about this.

    Reply
  2. Ian Macfarlane Post author

    Pity this wasn't cleared up at the time, but great to finally have an answer to this.

    TLDR: it's exactly the same as a link.

    Reply
  3. John Morrison Post author

    Not quite sure how that clears up anything. Its like asking what is the fuel economy difference when I put bigger tires on my bicycle. Links and 301s? I don't get the technical relationship as present by Matts either-or response. The question should be, is there additional loss when the page linked to 301 redirects to a new url. Is Matt saying that this is indeed the case? We are only left to assume.

    Reply
  4. Nate Orshan Post author

    Sort of a non-answer answer. Matt confirms that a 301 yields the same amount of PageRank loss as a regular link, but the percentage that's lost is deliberately left unanswered.

    Reply
  5. Bruce Jackson Post author

    @Nate – He says 89-90% near beginning of video.

    @John – Yes – naturally there is loss on each link. So if you 301 redirect to a URL and then this is redirected with a further 301 you are going to lose additonal 10% each time.

    Reply
  6. wonhih Post author

    How about a case where you have a redirect chain? You have a page that links to a url that redirects to a redirect to a redirect to a page? Matt seems to indicate that using a 301 redirect won't lose pagerank. Is that true even in such a redirect chain (of reasonable length)?

    Reply
  7. Keith Goode Post author

    Excellent information about using a 301 over static links, but I don't believe you answered the question as it relates to migrating content to a new URL altogether. That's the type of 301 that is dealt with more often, and there are more questions about how much of Page A's page strength is passed to its replacement. Moreover, there are other considerations. What if you migrate Page A to Page B, and then a month later you migrate to Page C? What's lost on the first hop? What's lost on the 2nd?

    Reply
  8. Thomas McMahon Post author

    Every one of his videos has a non-answer answer – drives me nuts!

    Reply
  9. youtubeuser Post author

    This is more about links vs redirects though. If I create a new site, I want to know if I'll be hurt by renaming my pages and redirecting from the old to the new. The answer seems to be yes…I would be hurt (slightly) and would be better off not renaming my pages, if juice is coming in from the outside world.

    Reply
  10. Jonathan Guy Post author

    And this is precisely why it is so difficult to write a search engine algorithm. Matt has answered the question that was asked but not the question that many of us thought was asked. The straight answer is what Matt has given, but many below are already asking the supplementary 'migrating a site' question which it could also have been about. Simple search query anyone??

    Reply
  11. Jakub Wiącek Post author

    its its about PR but what about the power of all links?

    Reply
  12. MrTVTL905 Post author

    No, they don't. Just because Matt doesn't say "15% of PageRank is lost via a 301" doesn't mean he didn't answer the question. There's no logical reason for him to give specific values and information, and there are a myriad of reasons for him not to (not the least of which is the mass misinterpretation by wannabes).

    If you don't like the answers, don't watch the videos because he clearly isn't going to change his style.

    Reply
  13. Kenneth von Rauch Post author

    That's the trick about Matt's answers he's kinda telling the truth but you're supposed to be readin between the lines. 🙂

    Reply
  14. nickalt Post author

    Agreed. Confusing response. So changing the url of a page causes it to lose some percentage of value?

    Reply
  15. Tuan Do Post author

    I get nothing after watching this video. He is trying to make us confused.

    Reply
  16. Nick Soares Post author

    How much does Google's algorithm view software like WordPress and its code as duplicate content, if any? I am trying to figure if a fresh coded site is best or if I use WordPress.

    Reply
  17. Mani Karthik Post author

    WordPress like any other CMS has several instances (lesser when compared to many other CMS) where the same content is duplicated over and over again.

    The good news is that with plugins and even some basic hand coding, one can curb the duplication, while keeping the functions same. In fact, its easier to avoid duplication and stick to search engine standards on WordPress.

    Essentially, its not about the CMS or the software but how you structure your site, and drive SEs within it, that matters.

    Reply
  18. Nick Soares Post author

    Hey Mani, thanks for the reply. I do know this about wordpress but I was hoping someone from Google could make this a topic 🙂

    Reply
  19. n00b player Post author

    agree with you, i think for more clearly just create 301 page and see real page rank down if don't believe the answer on that video.

    btw, i think his answer on that video reasonable, because page rank suppose to domain and not page it self. if there is 301, it doesn't mean domain or page doesn't contain your answer that every time you ask to google(search result) that must show to you to give the best answer you must get for your problem. or just sent email to google search enginer team.

    Reply
  20. Nostradamia Post author

    Google transparency can only be as good as its system promotes its financial interest.

    Reply
  21. brunoais Post author

    How about a 302 a 303 and a 307. Does that follow the same rule?

    Reply
  22. MrTVTL905 Post author

    What this guy said…except the part about it being annoying.

    Reply
  23. Muhammad Alhabash Post author

    I believe he said that (301 = links in terms of PR lost) just to make sure nobody tries to outsmart Google and try to reverse-engineer how Google work. Even though I don't believe that his answer is true (specially that he had to ask the team behind it like he doesn't already know!!), the big question remains unanswered: how much PR is lost when using 301 redirects?!!

    Reply
  24. Howard Young Post author

    You can always set those duplicate content pages to no index and links to those pages no follow so that juice is not passed on to them. That should eliminate duplicate content penalties.

    Reply
  25. chiaramarina Pastorelli Post author

    What is the difference between a curation content and a copy content. What percentage of text must be new in order to be considered a nice and not copied content? thanks

    Reply
  26. Jolly John Post author

    We have redirected few pages using 301. We were lucky to get the same PR of old page to new URL. But now, really fear to redirect a URL with PR to another. (actually its not for any cloaking purpose bu only due problem in URL structuring with id calling. As it is not seo friendly ). Much confused if the current PR not carried to new URL.

    Reply
  27. Daniel Hinds Post author

    If you use a WordPress install on your site you won't be penalized for it. Google actually likes the standard structure as it's easier for them to index etc. My company has dozens of WordPress sites on the first page of Google for serious, competitive terms and there's never been even a small problem.

    Reply
  28. texxs01 Post author

    Use canonical references in both cases. WP is excellent at managing them actually. There's also plugins to make it easier.

    Reply
  29. Thomas McMahon Post author

    I know they can't reveal their secrets with any hard details (although Rand Fishkin has some good material on why Google should make their algorithm public), I'm just tired of every single one of Matt Cutts' videos being thrown across the internet like he's finally clearing an issue up when they often avoid the question or raise more questions than answers. Just vetting my frustration 🙂

    Reply
  30. Tony Lee Post author

    wow,what percentage of pagerank is lost through a 301 redirect??there is no answer.

    Reply
  31. Martin Bean Post author

    The platform code (PHP) would have no bearing on page rank, it’s the actual content and HTML generated that Google looks at, not server-side code.

    Reply
  32. Christian Guynn Post author

    Page Rank? There are people who still worry about it?

    Reply
  33. DynumoTV Post author

    I was about to post that until I realised you had beat me to it 😉

    Reply
  34. Die1101 Post author

    I'm confused. In what way could a 301 replace a link? How could you build a site with 301s instead of links? You'd have to at least link to a URL that then redirects to the destination page. You'd lose PR one way or another. Or both ways.

    Reply
  35. Die1101 Post author

    It's not bad at all. It could actually be helpful, but it's usually unnecessary.

    Reply
  36. Marviene Fulton Post author

    Matt does answer the question. He says the exact same amount is lost as would be if it wasn't a 301. Imagine this: you get an external link coming to Page 1, then your Page 1 links internally to Page 2. Link to page 1 gets x amount of page rank from the link. Link to page 2 gets x-y. Therefore a link to 301 gets x and the page that the 301 points to gets x-y. So: x-y is better than it disappearing altogether, but try avoiding creating this situation.

    Reply
  37. Marviene Fulton Post author

    There is a 46 minute video from several years ago where Matt spoke at a WordPress conference. He answers this question. He likes WordPress and uses it. There is another video somewhere on this channel that also answers about short excerpts on the homepage (they are okay if they change frequently). Overall short answer is this: WordPress is great but don't index pages like tag and category archives. Be sure all pages indexed / followed are unique.

    Reply
  38. AcenZac Post author

    I don't see how people are misunderstanding his answer then implying he doesn't answer at all.

    He answers the question at hand fine.
    Question: What percentage of pagerank is lost through a 301 redirect?
    Answer: About _nearly_ the same as a normal link, that is, .85 or .9 (around, c'mon if you're that interested go look at some patents) of the original flow from a page, then take all the links and equally branch that among all the links. How many links do you have, be it 301s or otherwise?

    Reply
  39. sportsphysio100 Post author

    Totally agree. EVERY SINGLE TIME Mr Matt Cuts answer raises more questions. So the same is lost as through a link? How much is lost through a link? if I go by some of the other answers I lost MOST (85%) of my page rank… so using a 301 is not just harmful, it is disastrous and no web site should ever be able to change a URL unless it can afford the loss of revenue to ride it out indefinitely. I gambled and changed my main sites URLs 2 years ago now and my business has been virtually destroyed.

    Reply
  40. Robb Young Post author

    Completely agree. If you use 301s correctly (i.e. telling search engines a page has permanently moved) how is that anything like a link? There should be no loss whatsoever for a 'permanent move' which can't possibly be taken care of with a link instead.

    Reply
  41. Spook SEO Post author

    I agree with you @Zac Bruce. This question was clearly answered by Matt (this time). I'm glad to know that using 301's doesn't really have an "all that bad" effect.

    Reply
  42. Aman Tandon Post author

    Hi Spook Seo ..I wanna personally ask you a question…if you can plz email me at [email protected]

    I have just started my new website…Should I redirect users from old website to the new one..New one has unique and original posts and old one compared to this doesnt even stand out in the league…Thanks in advance if you could help

    Reply
  43. Evolving SEO Post author

    Errr so a 301 is like adding a second link, so you have Link -> 301 -> page … instead of just Link –> Page – so isn't this like passing through two links?

    Reply
  44. rhondalub Post author

    Ok so how are we suppose to use "htt-p-s"? My "htt-p" sites redirect to "htt-p-s" and 301 redirect is the only way godaddy would allows this to work. Looks like I shouldn't have protected my sites with "htt-p-s".

    Reply
  45. rhondalub Post author

    and why does youtube think i'm putting in a web address every time I type htt p. That's annoying.

    Reply
  46. Thomas McMahon Post author

    Agreed – I was mainly venting about most of his videos. This one is more clear than others and does do a good job of providing an answer. But as Nate pointed out, he doesn't actually say how much – just that it's the same as a link. Splitting hairs? Yeah, probably 🙂

    Reply
  47. Ruchira Mankar Post author

    I recently used a 301 redirect for my site on home page, but now the home page is not getting ranked as it is not seen in the search results. it has badly affected my ranking. What should i do?

    Reply
  48. Honesto III Avellanosa Post author

    Matt Cutts is just awesome. Now that answer my question, clearly. Thanks a lot Matt.

    Reply
  49. Martin Currah Post author

    I use a 301 redirect from http to https as to always have my users on ssl. Is this a bad thing? Should I just allow a user to use http and https interchangeably?

    Reply
  50. myPHPnotes Post author

    In short,
    301 loses same pagerank as a link does.

    Reply
  51. studycircle360 Post author

    Hello sir,
    1.I had migrated from one domain to another by the use of “All in one WP Migration Plugin” and clicked on Permalinks twice to make changes to the Url’s.
    2. Next,I had forwarded the domains from http://www.mecharriors.com to http://www.mechanicalstudents.com .
    3.After that redirection is not taking place and an error of

    http://www.mecharriors.com’s server IP address could not be found.

    It was observed since 4 days after the redirection and the Robots.txt file was also deleted from the Root domain after the redirection and the Google is not Indexing the Old URL nor it is redirecting..

    Old Domain : http://www.mecharriors.com
    New Domain : http://www.mechanicalstudents.com

    Please do help in this regard sir…
    Thanks

    Reply
  52. Jivan Pal Post author

    When he says "link", he means a direct link; a link to a URL which returns HTTP 200.
    When he says "301", he means a redirected link; a link from some page X to a URL, call it A, which returns HTTP 301 pointing to another URL, call it B. Clicking on the "301" takes you to B, and equally as much PageRank is retained as would be if you'd followed a direct link to B. Page A doesn't get a PageRank score, since it redirects to B. Any backlinks to A contribute PageRank to B instead.

    Picturing the web as a digraph whose nodes are URLs and whose directed edges are hyperlinks, then if URL X has a link to URL A, which returns a 301 to URL B, the PageRank result is the same as if A and B were the same node, so that X points directly to B instead of doing so via A.

    Reply
  53. Harmen Greven Post author

    When the searchs gods speak. ^^
    But beware Greenspan also was a god of indexes and he fell deeep ^_^

    Reply
  54. Dave Cue Post author

    That’s great but this video is 2013. Has anything changed by 2019?

    Reply
  55. Ronnie Marinari Post author

    Hi so here's a question… I have a local business. my website has maybe a hundred backlinks and nothing too special. Domain Authority may be around 2-3 ( you get the idea). Now, my keywords only really rank for local keywords like eyebrows orlando or eyebrows in orlando ect.. i bought an expired domain that has over 70k backlinks and DA is somewhere around 50+ and the keywords, for example, would be less detailed but extremely competitive ranking all 80 plus keywords on first page of google like eyebrows, eyebrows near me, the best eyebrows ect. so my question to you is this, because the new domain i bought has all these keyword rankings and link juice, would it make more sense to i guess replace my existing domain name that iv started with to the ranking one or have it redirected? if i have it redirected will that ranking domain keep all its keyword rankings and add it to my existing domain? Will i have to redo my whole seo to fit all those newer keywords or will they just carry over? So if redirecting doesnt all carry over the rankings do i just redirect my the 1st domain i started with to the ranked domain? If i did that would i loose all my local keywords even if all that content and seo all stays the same? What would be best?

    Reply

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