301 redirects are commands which send a user (human or robot) seemingly seamlessly from one Web page to another. The value of these types of redirects for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is that they pass the most of the link value that the page has garnered within search engine algorithms on to the new page.
For some time, users of Google's Webmaster Tools (WMT) did not have much insight into how Google was treating 301s within their domain, especially after they changed the WMT link reports in 2009. However, according to a Webmaster World Forums member, WMT is now showing 301s as backlinks.
Earlier this month, Google added URL redirects to the link reports. Not everyone noticed that announcement. But now it appears to be taking notice by Webmasters.
The member "roodle" describes:
I've recently moved 2 sections of a site to 2 respective separate subdomains. WMT is now showing the 301s I set up as backlinks into the main domain. The 2 subdomains are also showing themas backlinks...I checked the 301s using Firebug and they are picked up perfectly as such. WMT even mentions something called an "intermediate link", which I have no idea where it got.
Have others seen this "intermediate link" notice? I checked a few of our accounts and cannot reproduce it. I think it makes sense that if Google is counting the value of the page's links towards the 301 redirect target page, that they show it as counting in the link total. It would be great however if they could label them as described and even group them, since as far as we know the links are not fully counted.
Please share your thoughts and experiences either at Webmaster World Forums or in the comments below.