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301 Redirects - Can they be damaging? - Based on Google's John Mueller Video

     
10:16 am on Feb 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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If Site A which say ranks ok for a certain keywords redirects to Site B that ranks very well for certain key words, will it:

A: have no effect at all
B: boost Site B very slightly or at least embedded their position more
C: negatively effect Site B

The reason I ask is due to the change in thinking of 301's. Have a look here at 56:30:

[youtube.com ]

They talk about sites being 301'd and negatively effecting the site they are forwarded to. Google struggles to answer. Either way, they have come out to say that a site can negatively effect another site that it 301's to rather than the general consensus which is that it can only be neutral or positive.

[edited by: goodroi at 11:16 am (utc) on Feb 17, 2015]
[edit reason] Fixed url [/edit]

11:19 am on Feb 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The Google webmaster hangout video you link to seems to be talking about a different situation. Google's John Mueller seems to be talking about redirecting a toxic, spam penalized website and not a healthy website that is already ranking well.
11:28 am on Feb 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The situation is different but rarely are cases the same. The point is that it does show that 301s can have impact on another domain in ways other than neutral or positive.

So given my case above would you think it would be more likely to be A or B?
11:44 am on Feb 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I think you are making an assumption that Google treats all 301 redirects the same way regardless if it is clean site with many healthy metrics or a completely toxic site that is banned algorithmically and/or manually. I would not make that assumption.

I would also not assume that the way Google handles 301 redirects today will always stay the same. So if you have a toxic website and think it can benefit you today, it might turn into a poison redirect next year.

I've done some limited testing and have not seen significant negative impact from penalized domains being redirected. It is generally a neutral or positive experience. This could be my testing was too small or I wasn't using domains that had the right type of penalty. Regardless I would not risk redirecting penalized domains to any of my long term profit generating websites. I would be comfortable redirecting a healthy relevant website to my website.
11:51 am on Feb 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Ok thanks.

You mention that something could turn to poison down the line. By that it suggests that you need to keep the original domain hosted and redirecting long term.

If for example I redirect Site A to Site B for 6 months and it shows further improvements to Site B. If I then delete the domain and remove any 301's would I expect those benefits to be lost even after 6 months?
12:02 pm on Feb 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I'm more concerned that Google now sometimes chooses to keep showing urls from a 301'ed domain, even if you also do the GWT address change.

That violates the RFC and breaks the whole concept and reasoning behind a 301. For no purpose that I can fathom.
12:17 pm on Feb 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Yes I agree. My concern is that my Site B is very good and ranks well. We bought a competitor which we are now amalgamating under a single brand hence the 301.

I am hoping since they rank well also for the same product that we will get Site B boosted and / or more cemented into the positions we have. Neutral effect would be disappointing, negative effect would be catastrophic.
1:12 pm on Feb 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I've been in that situation several times; one of my clients vacuums up competitors like they were dust balls. We've never had a problem with the 301s; they haven't particularly helped, but they definitely haven't hurt. This is an ecommerce site that's been around since 1998, so it has a good amount of history behind it.
1:21 pm on Feb 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Yes the 'hasn't particularly helped' is a concern as current myself and the competitors which we bought rank on page 1 for given terms. Ours is higher but still if we remove the purchased site and we go nowhere then we have technically still lost quite a lot for no real gain.

Then again, we don't want two brands. To add to the complexity, this competitor also had Site C, D and E all doing the same thing. They took the strategy that more sites were better. I'm of the opposite persuasion and will now attempt to send all of them to ours.

I'll report back on how we do.
1:28 pm on Feb 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Ours is higher but still if we remove the purchased site and we go nowhere then we have technically still lost quite a lot for no real gain.


Not in my book. You get their type in traffic, you get their social traffic, you get all their other traffic. Did you just purchase them to take them out of Google?

When my client purchases a competitor, I 301 the purchased site URLs to the appropriate URLs on the client site, and include a banner or top strip with a sentence or two to explain WHY they were redirected ("You've reached this page because Company B has acquired Company A - for more information, click here) because it's extremely aggravating to be redirected without knowing why.

We always get more traffic when we redirect a competitor; whether or not most of it comes from Google. To me, that's the main goal.
2:44 pm on Feb 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Did you just purchase them to take them out of Google?


Yes but also to improve our ranks. Since Google did its thing in July 2013 ranks have been weird and we want to try and get back to where we were.

For example we rank no.1 for red spockets, big spockets, good spockets, best sprockets etc. However if you type just spockets in then we are not even first page. Only Amazon and all the the big boys.

We can't determine why we rank for everything other than the main keyword we want and hope this might help things.

I do speculate that all the big companies that rank for core basic keywords all seem to be base in Ireland and hence don't pay their taxes.... oh just like Google. Coincidence?
3:08 pm on Feb 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Coincidence?


Yes.

For example we rank no.1 for red spockets, big spockets, good spockets, best sprockets etc. However if you type just spockets in then we are not even first page. Only Amazon and all the the big boys.


Amazon and the "big boys" probably have engagement metrics off the charts. I don't think buying more companies and redirecting their sites is going to help with that, but who knows.
3:34 pm on Feb 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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but who knows


Will let you know :)

I just change the Htaccess file so fingers crossed.
3:46 pm on Feb 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I hope you did a good 301 by that I mean your redirecting all the pages to like product pages. I don't like doing a mass 301 to the home page this could be toxic.
4:04 pm on Feb 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I specifically extracted the matching products from the site and match them up as close as possible. Half the site is direction to our spockets site and half the site to our Widgets Site. All URLS are directly to relevant pages. Took forever to do but probably worth it.
4:15 pm on Feb 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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In my case it only was A or B answer - maybe just luck?
5:23 pm on Feb 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Yes time very well spent. :)