TheMadScientist - 7:37 am on Mar 15, 2010 (gmt 0) [edited by: TheMadScientist at 8:18 am (utc) on Mar 15, 2010]
The question is, do bots revisit the 'intermediate' URLs in a chain after the head of a chain is altered to redirect someplace else?
I would guess they do, and I've been working on this for most of the evening and trying to make a decision on what to do for my 'mini-bot', but my goals are not the same as Google's, so I'll probably do some things different here, but what I would guess they do (or the theory I would work with as a starting point) would be:
Follow all the redirects through to the final location, but keep track of the number and diminish the value of inbound links by N% (could fluctuate based on number and circumstances) for every redirect along the way, because IMO when you are trying to organize the worlds information and return a 'trusted', important resource, and I ask myself if a highly valued, trusted resource would be moved through more than a couple of redirects I come up with, no...
I can see one: www.example.com to example.com, or 'basically, it was here, but now it's over there', or maybe even 2 in some cases, because quite a few people don't know what they're doing, like redirecting from example.com/index.html to www.example.com/index.html and then from www.example.com/index.html to www.example.com, but when I ask why you would redirect me through 3 or more (especially across domain names) to get to the actual content I can't come up with a very good answer.
My guess is (keep in mind I'm guessing, so it's not 'tested' or 'fact') there could be a 'flexible dampening' in place with redirects as with most things they do, so it might not be 'as dampening' on link weight passed to redirect from example.com to www.example.com and then from www.example.com/page.html to www.example.com/new-page.php (it doesn't look to sneaky or manipulative) as it would be to redirect from example.com to keyword-example.com to keyword2example.com.
Edited: Made a correction to the multiple redirect example noted by g1smd.
[edited by: TheMadScientist at 8:18 am (utc) on Mar 15, 2010]