I've been following a thread at Google Webmaster Help where a webmaster said he migrated his site from one domain to another, followed the moving site instructions Google has laid out for webmasters exactly and almost two months later still doesn't have the rankings the old site had on the old domain.
The site migrated from NutsOnline.com to Nuts.com, the webmaster said:
On January 6th, we submitted a change of address for www.nutsonline.com to nuts.com. We followed everything to the T. 301s, change of address in webmaster tools, and even tried to consolidate old indexed pages with rel=canonical and redirects.
Yea, this is a large site and it will take time, but Googler John Mueller chimed in with his somewhat disappointment in Google taking this long to pick up the new site. John wrote:
I'm sorry to hear that it's been this frustrating for your site. We worked hard to make our systems as fast and as pain-free as possible when it comes to site moves, so it's particularly frustrating for us to see situations where algorithmic fluctuations from such a change last longer than we'd want. Looking into your site, the issues you're seeing are very likely to settle down over time, as our algorithms get used to the new content and are able to migrate all associated signals properly.
He basically said, yea - you did everything right but Google's algorithms were in flux causing a slow down in the migration time. At least that is how I read it.
Maybe more interesting is the comment he made about "over time, as our algorithms get used to the new content and are able to migrate all associated signals properly." So no, 301 redirects do not lead to immediate ranking signal migration from the origin URL to the destination URL.
Alistair Lattimore who has been in correspondence with me on this thread felt that you can look into his comment as saying, a " 301 redirect doesn't magically transfer all ranking data over to the new domain/URLs, such as Google Panda signals as an example."
I hope the webmaster keeps us posted on the migration status.
Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.