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How does it affect a site with higher PageRank if a lower PageRank start redirecting (301) to it?

The lower ranked site has a spammy link profile and would like to shut it down, but it also has a lot of visitors. I would like to start redirecting it to another site with much higher rank.

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You don't want the weight placed by a search engine to carry over to the new website because along with it, will be transferred all the negative weight from low quality / spammy content/links etc.

In order to just refer legitimate traffic to the new website, you'd need to implement a 301 redirect and exclude search engine crawlers such as GoogleBot so that they do not get redirected to the new website. (So you'd be redirecting humans and not bots). You'd have to be wary of potential cloaking risks though.

Alternatively, could you not just display a notification or new page at your old website advising all visitors of the new website and ask them to visit that one instead?

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A 301 redirect should be the correct thing to do. Here's a reference: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/83105?hl=en.

Make sure that you do not do a single redirect for all the pages but for one page at a time.

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That link doesn't answer his questions about spam on on one domain having a negative effect on the other domain. – Stephen Ostermiller Nov 7 '13 at 3:35

Definitely, you are going to lose your high PageRank site too. Google can easily detect that the traffic is coming from a spammy site, therefore the new hummingbird algorithm will classify your blog too in the list of spams, especially when you do a 301 redirect. That doesn't mean that the high PageRank of your site will decrease.

You could possible do one thing. In the Google Webmaster Tools, try to file a manual spam action reverting. Delete all the spam posts in your blog and then try a redirect.

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The Hummingbird algorithm has nothing to do with detecting/combating spam. – zigojacko Feb 18 '14 at 15:05

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