My question is if a domain has some sort of SERP penalty and then that domains then uses a site wide 301 redirect to another domain will that domain take on the SERP penalties?


  1. Site1.com (Has some sort of SERP Penalty)
  2. Site2.com (No ranking or index issues)
  3. Site1.com then uses a site wide 301 permanent redirect to Site2.com

Q. Will Site2.com take on previous penalties from Site1.com?

Back Story

I've been trying to tract down why Google has removed my website from the index without any warnings or messages; I've checked the following:

  • No messages in the Search Console for http:// https:// http://www. https://www.
  • No emails from Google regarding any issue
  • No malware warnings in Browser or in the 4 properties in Search Console under security
  • No malware warnings from 'StopBadWare"
  • No Manual Actions shown in Search console for the 4 properties
  • All pages have rel="canonical" tags pointing to the preferred https://www version of the site

It has now been 1 month since the site has been removed from the index; so I don't believe there is any message still coming from Google.

Though what I have found out is a webmaster who runs a network of service websites in the same niche as me has decided to stop offering his service; I have found out that he has done a site wide redirect on all of his domains and websites to my website using a 301 redirect. This did give me a big boost in traffic and it seems that a lot of the users of his service started to use my service which was fine by me; the issue is that about a month after I noticed this was happening I was removed from the index.

I have no control over his websites or domains and I have not been able to contact the webmaster. My only guess is that one, or some, of his websites has some sort of SERP penalties which are now being transferred to my site via 301 permanent redirect.

I'm also not sure what the proper course of action is being that I can't get in contact with this person as well as have no control over the domains doing a 301 redirect to my site. While the extra traffic is nice as well as the new users reaching out to me using social media saying they are enjoying my service if SERP penalties can follow or forward a penalty through side wide 301 redirects I might be getting a penalty by something out of my control.

I believe there are about 100 domains now doing a 301 redirect to my 1 website which provided me with around 300K extra page views daily.

EDIT - Additional Information

The site only has 63 pages in it's sitemap.xml file. Google previously had all pages indexed and some were ranking very well; the site also had site links appearing in SERPs.

Google Search Console used to show all pages as being indexed but over the coarse of 2 days this went to 0. The first day the amount of indexed pages seemed to go to around half of the 63 pages and then on the next day when it updated it went down to 0 pages being indexed.

Doing a site:domain.com search only shows 1 result with some random string being added to the end of my domain (domain.com/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=feed) Though this also shows a "You have visited this page previously" google message so I'm not sure if this is just something cached for my search since I have previous clicked on the link.

Looking at the Google cache for this only link that appears does display my website but Google states that this is a cached version of one of the domain redirecting to me.

Additional there are omitted results not being shown, though when I click to view these results it shows all the sub domain dynamic pages that are blocked by robots.txt and should not be indexed anyways (This was normal previously).

All of these sites are using a 301 redirect to my site; what I have noticed is that the HTTPS sites have the 301 location set as my HTTPS while the HTTP has the location set as my HTTP domain.

My domain: https://goo.gl/cEMPSc Example of a redirect domain: https://goo.gl/vKLKX4

(I don't want this page to be index for my domain so am using goo.gl short URLs)

  • 2
    What is the index status in GSC? Does a site: search return anything? Are these 100 sites simply redirecting to your homepage? That would ordinarily be treated as a soft-404, however, that could also be seen as "highly unnatural", regardless of any SERP penalty IMO.
    – MrWhite
    Oct 25, 2016 at 9:16
  • 2
    My question would be how many pages is Google Search Console saying are indexed? Not the pages indexed from the sitemap. If you use the site: search directive, it will apply some SERP filters and can be misleading. GSC pages indexed would be accurate. If this metric is significantly higher than a site: directive, then you have a SERP filter being applied. If not, and GSC is reporting less pages indexed than before, then you likely have a more severe penalty. This is important to know. Cheers!!
    – closetnoc
    Oct 25, 2016 at 15:39
  • What is your website? Oct 25, 2016 at 20:37
  • 1
    @w3dk My mistake I worded that incorrectly, I didn't mean that I wanted to prevent my site to be indexed because of the goo.gl URL (in contrast I want it to be indexed again) I merely meant that I didn't want this page to come up while searching for my brand name. Thanks for the info regarding the string at the end of the URL! I didn't think about private browsing; though it is rather odd that this is the only returned result.
    – Analog
    Oct 26, 2016 at 12:25
  • 1
    If you are using Apache, you can use your .htaccess file to block these redirects using a {HTTP_REFERER} as part of your RewriteCond. What to do with this is up to debate. I personally would issue a 401 or 404. There maybe better a error code for this. Hopefully a 401 or 404 sends a signal that the 301 is not appreciated. Cheers!!
    – closetnoc
    Oct 26, 2016 at 16:30

1 Answer 1


The short answer is that most search engines (even Google) just pull the page as text. Like with a wget.

It then scans the text looking for obvious links in the body. Then it does the whole page rank thing to decide relevance.

It is smart enough to know what is body, soyou can't count on it following script instructions because they are not part of the body of the page.

I don't know about penalties, but it is quite likely that redirects will just be ignored in most cases.

  • This answer on the google product forums makes me think that redirect can have an effect on the ladder domain goo.gl/qgerz9
    – Analog
    Oct 28, 2016 at 19:52
  • I believe the single most important thing that Google looks for is actually NOT the form of the URL. It primarily looks for a match between the text of the link in the originating page with the H1 title of the destination page. As I imply in the answer, I do not know for sure whether Google will perform a wget on intermediate hops, especially when they are known mainstream URL shorteners like bit.ly and TinyURL. As long as the end target and the referring link match it shouldn't incur a penalty. I certainly have not heard of any. But I highly suggest the link text and H1 match EXACTLY.
    – SDsolar
    Aug 10, 2017 at 3:26

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