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Can 301 redirected URLs be reclaimed and reranked?

6:25 pm on Jan 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

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If a URL is 301 redirected to a new location on the same site, then later that redirect is removed and the content on the old URL restored, will the old URL regain (or come close to) its previous rankings?

Or, since it's a "permanent" redirect, is it likely that the URL will have difficulty ranking as well as it did previously?
8:08 pm on Jan 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I wondered this myself on a bigger scale - like an entire site. I changed the sites format from HTML to wordpress and it seems to have sunk my rankings - wondering if I shouldn't flip the whole site back into HTML.
8:59 pm on Jan 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

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When you move from static pages to a dynamic web package, you should keep the original HTML links exactly as they are. If your links change, it will obviously cause significant loss of page rank.

then later that redirect is removed and the content on the old URL restored

If you plan to restore the page at some point you should be doing a 302 or 307 not 301.

Theoretically restoring the old page will regain the rank if you have external links pointing to it. But I don't know how search engines will perceive it. IMO if the page had no external links, a 301 for sometime and then a 404 for sometime, could be better before restoring the original page.

Another way instead of restoring the exact same link (since you have a 301 in place now) you could setup the old page under a new link.
9:37 pm on Jan 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

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It can take some time to recover rankings after changing URLs and instituting 301 redirects. The more technically precise those redirects, the shorter the recovery time, in general. Backing out of that kind of change can often make the recovery take even longer, because you've now built a more complicated history for the site.

Redirects and refreshes are a long-time spammer's playground and Google needs to verify all such changes for trust - that's what takes time, in my understanding.
7:19 am on Jan 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

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No, a 301 is not really "permanent".

I have removed 301s and put the old sites back in place, and they have often returned to previous ranking.

Its not quick usually. It depends how long the site was redirected, among other things. But they have come back for all the dozen of so I have experienced.