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I asked for help over at WordPress Answers StackExchange for doing a 301 Redirect for my website, which will involve a permalink structure change also.

One of the suggested solutions was 301 Redirect via Apache (.htaccess) and then use a plugin for internal redirects on the new site.

The person who answered was not sure if using this two step approach will affect SEO and suggested I ask over here.

So will doing a 301 Redirect and then having a plugin also redirect to the correct URL affect how Google indexes my new site, PageRank or any other SEO rankings?

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3 Answers 3

Multiple 301 redirects will impact the ranking of that page. Google has confirmed that a small amount of trust and authority is lost for every 301 redirect. Once isn't a big deal, twice is slightly suboptimal but probably nothing to really fret over. Three plus and you're in dangerous territory IMO.

If you can help it, do a one to one 301 redirect from the old page to the new page.

In addition, use something like Httpfox or Live HTTP Headers to check exactly what is being returned once you have it in place.

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Could you cite a source for 301s dropping some trust/authority? –  Lèse majesté Nov 6 '10 at 18:50
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Matt Cutts has spoken about this topic: marketingpilgrim.com/2010/03/… –  AJ Kohn Nov 8 '10 at 13:46

Redirecting more than once per request is a suboptimal solution - if possible, generate all of the new mappings (i.e. 'site1.com/old-category/old-post-uri -> sub1.site2.com/new-category/new-post-uri') and redirect directly from the old site1.com URI to the new sub1.site2.com URI instead of forcing multiple requests.

You will very likely see a temporary drop in ranking whenever you move between domains, however, consistent use of 301 redirects should get your content back to its appropriate ranking as quickly as possible.

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The number of methods you choose to do a redirect isn't really relevant since once a redirect is sent to the browser it instantly does it and never sees another redirect. What does matter is that all of the redirects are 301 redirects. If they are anything but a 301 redirect then you will have issues with your rankings.

301 redirects are not a perfect solution but they a lot better then nothing. Not only will your suers find your new URLs without fail but so will the search engines. Plus they will make a correlation between the new content and the old content, and in the case of Google, pass along any PR and any other page specific factors, as well as keep the rankings for those pages.

Keep in mind that 301 redirects aren't perfect. You will see a temporary drop in your rankings while Google makes the adjustment on their end. They also recommend going out and contacting anyone who is linking to your old content and ask them to update their links to your new URLs as there will be some PR loss from those links.

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