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Is 301 redirects a Google Ranking factor?

Is 301 redirects a Google Ranking factor?

Using 301 redirects to tell search engines when a web page has been permanently moved to a new location is definitely an SEO practice.

But can 301 redirects affect your organic search rankings?

Read on to learn if there is any connection between 301 redirects and enhanced Google rankings.

The requirement: 301 redirects is a ranking factor

What are 301 redirects?

A 301 redirect is a server-side redirect to a permanently changed URL.

You would use a 301 redirect for the following scenarios:

You go from HTTP to HTTPS. You are moving from an old domain to a new one. You optimize URL snails for existing posts and pages. You’re moving to a new site platform, and your pages change from https://domain.com/page.html to https://domain.com/page/.

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Most of the discussion around 301 redirects focuses on whether PageRank would migrate from the old URL to the new URL.

Or if there were inbound links to the old URL, would they be automatically applied to the new URL?

The proof against 301 redirects as a ranking factor

Not much is officially said about 301 redirects as a ranking factor.

In 2012, Matt Cutts, then head of Google’s web spam team, said Google would follow an unlimited number of redirects from one page to another.

Google will even make more hops if one page is redirected to another page and then redirected again and again. He noted that Googlebot can stop following redirects after four to five hops.

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In 2013, Cutts confirmed that a small percentage of PageRank is lost in 301 redirects. While some SEO professionals cite a loss of 15%, Cutts does not say that there is a certain percentage.

In 2016, Google’s John Mueller answered the question of whether 301 redirects pass PageRank in a post about moving from HTTP to HTTPS.

He reassured webmasters that:

“Fluctuations can occur with any major change to the site. We can not make any guarantees, but our systems are usually good with HTTP -> HTTPS features. ”

“… for 301 or 30.2 redirects from HTTP to HTTPS no page rank is lost.”

IN 2019, John further confirmed that HTTPS is an easy assessment factor when discussing how SSL affects a site’s search rankings. Redirecting a site from HTTP to HTTPS is the closest way 301 redirects are associated with ranking factors.

In 2020, Mueller discussed possible SEO implications of linking several 301 redirects. Redirects can adversely affect speed. Also note: Google will only crawl up to five “hops” in a redirect chain.

And in 2021, Google updated its guide to redirects and Google Search in its advanced SEO documentation. It confirmed that of all the redirect types, 301 redirects are most likely to be reviewed correctly.

Specifically, Google noted:

“… a server-side redirect has the greatest chance of being properly interpreted by Google.”

Temporary HTTP and meta updates have the least chance of being properly processed by Googlebots.

301 Redirects as a Ranking Factor: Our Judgment

The only time you can experience a boost as a result of using 301 redirects is when you go from HTTP to HTTPS.

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In the above case, it was HTTPS, not the 301 redirects that were confirmed as a lightweight factor.

When used properly, 301 redirects should have no effect on your site’s search rankings.

Featured Image: Paolo Bobita / Search Engine Journal

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