Since MayDay/Caffeine is PageRank Being Diluted More When 301 Redirected?

Aug 6, 2010 • 8:26 am | comments (7) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

pagerankIn March, we learned that there is some dilution of PageRank when 301ed from another URL. That means, if I have PageRank on and I redirect that page to, most but not all of the PageRank from will pass to This was contrary to what most people felt was really happening. Most people felt that 100% of the PageRank would ultimately pass form one URL to the next if a 301 redirect was used. So now maybe 99%?

There is some early and new chatter buzzing around the SEO forums that since either MayDay or the Caffeine launch, that even less PageRank and/or link popularity is passing through 301 redirected URLs.

I spotted through threads with this speculation going on, one at Google Webmaster Help and WebmasterWorld. We have two different people asking, I'll quote both:

What I have noticed since the MayDay update is that the 301 redirects dont seem to pass through as much link juice anymore.

Did the May Day Update reduce the amount of LinkJuice that gets passed through 301 redirects???

A lot of web masters on different forums are saying that, and I was wondering if the regulars on this forum felt the same way.

This may be one of those wild theories but sometimes these wild theories come out to be true. And when they come out to be true, either Google says so, doesn't say so or fixes a bug and admits fault.

Do you think there is anything to this theory?

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help and WebmasterWorld.

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William Vicary

08/06/2010 12:50 pm

I relaunched a website on new URLs around 2 years ago and my rankings dropped pretty significantly, I wouldn't say myself that this is only related to the MayDay updates, I would say this has been around for quite a while. This website had 5 million domain backlinks according to GWT so it may be something to do with the size of the 301s and perhaps an exception on the old website (following a manual review) that didn't get carried over to the new site - it certainly wasn't a like for like transition though!


08/06/2010 03:05 pm

well commenting on the comments u quoted Barry... Matt cutts said it many times...that pagerank is affected by links (mainly)... so if a 301 redirect (as Matt said) will not pass all the pagerank ...doesnt it mean that the 301 redirect will not pass all the juice from these links? ...its just an assumption will love ur comments on it ...


08/06/2010 04:16 pm

In the old days it felt like it passed all the juice (hard to work out of course) but I feels as if its like if you only had 1 link on that page pointing to the new page thus the extra damping effect of an additional page in the middle.. My 2 cents

Michael Martinez

08/06/2010 05:23 pm

It could actually be a pretty good "wild theory" if one allows for the possibility that some 301-redirects may be treated differently from others.


08/06/2010 05:23 pm

i liken 301s to a past relationship, one never fully recover 100% from it :) a piece of your heart will always be broken after a bad breakup.


08/06/2010 05:38 pm

so is there anything that could be done to counteract this if you have implemented 301s for these new pages?


08/06/2010 05:46 pm

At SMX London this year, Rob Kerry described what he called the 'Death of the External 301' since MayDay - see for a writeup - see also the Q&A writeup within that, where there was a discussion around how Google seems to be treating Canonical tags more seriously than 301s.

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