301 Redirect and Dissipation of Page Rank

The permanent redirect from one URL to another or simply ‘301 redirect’ has been regarded as a strong and efficient search engine friendly tactic to improve PageRank. This conviction has changed when Matt Cutts revealed that ‘301 redirect’ does dissipate a certain amount of PageRank. People started worrying about the percentage of PageRank that they might lose while using this type of redirect. However, GoogleWebmasterHelp has uploaded a video on Feburary 2013, in which Matt Cutts explains what percentage of PageRank is dissipated through 301 redirect.

Here is the summary of what Matt Cutts says in this video.

Cutts compares the outgoing links and ‘301 redirect’ and explains why people think that redirect conserves the PageRank. He cites the example of a link from Page A to Page B. The page rank that flows from the link will be PageRank of A multiplied by 0.85 or 0.9 (typical case). If we divide that page rank equally among all outgoing links in Page A, then we can find that a certain amount of page rank gets dissipated at each link. This kind of dissipation is not there in the case of  ‘301 redirect’ as there is no linking but just a ‘redirect’. In this way, it can conserve the PageRank of your site and improve its ranking.

But, Matt Cutts firmly says that there is dissipation in ‘301 redirect’ at the same rate as in the case of the outgoing link. To be more specific, the amount of page rank lost through a 301 redirect is equal to the amount of page rank that dissipates through an outgoing link. It is impossible to say whether ‘301 redirect’ or outgoing link is better for your site as both of them have the same effect.

301 Redirect can’t conserve or improve the PageRank of your site. At the same time, it can’t cause any harm to your site. It provides the same benefit as that of an outgoing link as per the current implementation. Matt Cutts recommends using outgoing link or 301, whichever is best for your purpose. However, it is better to take advice from a search engine optimization company that offers advanced SEO services before using this tactic for optimization.