Lately, I have seen a surge of traffic for one of my previous posts here at WPism on how to set up 301 redirects in WordPress.
Digging further into the redirects issue, it seems there have been few developments or official clarifications from Google about the issues of PageRank with regards to redirections.
PageRank is one of the important ranking signals of Google and previously it was comprehended that certain amount of PageRank gets diluted with 301 redirects.
This was a concern for those looking to change their URL structure or move to HTTPS as loss of PageRank might result in losing search engine traffic from Google.
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New changes for PageRank with 301, 302 Redirects
The main highlight of the recent discussion around SEO communities is of Google making it clear that there is no loss of PageRank for all 300 redirects.
Many webmasters were holding back from making the shift from HTTP to HTTPS without an explicit assertion from Google on how the search engine will handle the PageRank.
While a webmaster trends analyst at Google, John Mueller had previously clarified the issue, it hadn’t built enough trust among webmasters about retaining PageRank. The clarification was mostly seen as Google’s push for more of the web to adopt HTTPS.
# Do I lose “link juice” from the redirects? No, for 301 or 302 redirects from HTTP to HTTPS no PageRank is lost. – John Mueller answering 13 FAQs on moving to HTTPS.
The discussions seem to have surged after the recent 37 character tweet from Google’s Gary Illyes that implied of no effect on PageRank when using a 301, 302 or any 30x redirects.
Here’s the original tweet from Gary Illyes.
30x redirects don't lose PageRank anymore.
— Gary "鯨理" Illyes (@methode) July 26, 2016
Summary of Changes in Redirection
The changes on the issues of PageRank with regards to redirections can be summarised in few points;
Old SEO for 300 redirects
URL 1 → 301 and HTTPS redirects → URL 2 → resulted in a 15% PageRank loss
URL 1 → 302, 307 and 3xx redirects → URL 2 → resulted in almost 100% PageRank loss
New SEO for 300 redirects
URL 1 → 301 and HTTPS redirects → URL 2 → 0% PageRank loss
URL 1 → 302, 307 and 3xx redirects → URL 2 → 0% PageRank loss
Discussions of Redirections and PageRank in SEO Communities
The tweet has stirred a discourse among SEO professionals implying new rules for PageRank and SEO with regards to the 301 redirections.
Search Engine Land took it further to headline that 301, 302, 3xx redirects do not lose any PageRank value mentioning the tweet. They further confirmed the issue with Google’s John Mueller who said that Gary’s tweet isn't providing any new information and rather confirming what’s been for a while.
Another popular SEO community, MOZ published a sceptical blog about the new 301 redirects rules change. The author asserts that all kinds of redirects still carry a degree of SEO risk and that 301 redirects should still be the preferred method for permanent redirects.
Founder of MOZ and authoritative SEO professional Rand Fishkin provided his suggestions following the Google’s announcement. He recommended webmasters to be careful about the new announcement and to keep testing assumptions instead of blindly trusting them.
On Google's announcement that "30xs pass pagerank" — be wary. Test. Don't assume. Pagerank isn't the only or most important ranking signal.
— Rand Fishkin (@randfish) July 26, 2016
Final thoughts about 301 Redirects and PageRank
PageRank is only one of the hundreds of the Google’s ranking signals but the buzz it causes around SEO communities shows how much it matters for SEO to the webmasters.
We will definitely see reports and detailed analysis of this hypothesis in near future as more webmasters start changing their long due URLs, especially with regards to the HTTPS migrations.
If you are holding from making the shift from HTTP to HTTPS, I hope these announcements give you some confidence to start making the changes. However, despite the assertions of no PageRank loss with different redirects, I would still suggest using permanent 301 redirects when you can.
Conclusively, while the technical things such as 301, 302 redirects will always matter, putting user experience in front will make all the difference. This is something that search engines recommend and what webmasters can fully agree on!
Follow our complete guide for 301 redirects in WordPress to learn and implement 301 redirects for your WordPress website.