About a year ago, Google put out a Webmaster Help video discussing PageRank as it relates to 301 redirects. Specifically, someone asked, “Roughly what percentage of PageRank is lost through a 301 redirect?”
Google’s Matt Cutts responded, noting that it can change over time, but that it had been “roughly the same” for quite a while.
“The amount of PageRank that dissipates through a 301 is currently identical to the amount of PageRank that dissipates through a link,” he explained. “So they are utterly the same in terms of the amount of PageRank that dissipates going through a 301 versus through 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 hoard or conserve any more PageRank if you use a 301, and likewise it doesn’t hurt you if you use a 301.”
In a new Webmaster Central office hours video (via Search Engine Roundtable), Google’s John Mueller dropped another helpful tidbit related to redirects in that GoogleBot will follow up to five at the same time.
“We generally prefer to have fewer redirects in a chain if possible. I think GoogleBot follows up to five redirects at the same time when it’s trying to crawl a page, so up to give would do within the same cycle. If you have more than five in a chain, then we would have to kind of think about that the next time we crawled that page, and follow the rest of the redirects…We generally recommend trying to reduce it to one redirect wherever possible. Sometimes there are technical reasons why that’s not possible, so something with two redirects is fine.”
As Barry Schwartz at SER notes, this may be the first time Google has given a specific number. In the comments of his post, Michael Martinez says it used to be 2.
Image via YouTube