I need to change a URL of an interior page that has a Google PageRank of 4. It was recommended by a coworker that I create the new URL but have it redirect to the old one, thus allowing a buildup of PR for the new URL, and the existing page continues to maintain a PR of 4.

Does anyone have any insight as to whether this will actually work?

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    @KevanSheridan - it was properly worded to begin with - it should be "to" and not "from." That was the coworker's question. It should be "It was recommended by a coworker that I create the new URL but have it redirect to the old one" – MorganSA Feb 9 '14 at 19:34
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    No worries Linda, I rolled it back. – dan Feb 9 '14 at 19:51
  • At what point were you planning on redirecting the old to the new? After all that is the URL you "need to change". – MrWhite Feb 9 '14 at 20:26
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    @w3d The question was in regards to redirecting the new URL to the old one (see comments above), and what I addressed below. – dan Feb 9 '14 at 20:55
  • @dan: Yes, I realise that. But since the ultimate goal was to "change the URL", there would need to be some point in the future when the old URL would need to be switched off - even if that is not done immediately (in the hope to "build up PR for the new URL"). I just wondered if that had been considered by the "coworker" and was curious as to the coworkers complete reasoning behind this. The process mentioned in the question would seem to be just the first part. (Which I'm not saying is correct.) – MrWhite Feb 9 '14 at 21:09

It was recommended by a coworker that I create the new URL but have it redirect to the old one

If you 301 redirect the new URL to the old one, you'll just be telling search engines that the new URL permanently moved to the old URL, and to continue indexing the old URL instead of the new one.

You'd want to do the opposite: 301 redirect the old URL to the new one, to let search engines know that it permanently moved to the new URL and to index that.

See this for more on 301 redirects as covered by Google Webmaster Tools.

Also, note that PageRank is updated periodically, and as of recent, hadn't been updated for over 10 months as covered here. Instead of PageRank, you might do better to focus on the quality of your content and links pointing to your site, as Matt Cutts covers here.

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    "If you 301 redirect the new URL to the old one, you'll just be telling search engines that the new URL permanently moved to the old URL" Thanks, Dan - that makes a lot of sense. – MorganSA Feb 9 '14 at 19:41
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    No problem, see my update in regards to PageRank. – dan Feb 9 '14 at 19:47
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    Thanks, Dan. Totally agree - we've worked hard to provide quality content and gain valuable backlinks, which is why the majority of our site's pages are now 4 or above. And it doesn't hurt to also focus on PageRank, which isn't going away anytime soon. By the way, our site's PageRank was just updated about three months ago - jumped up a couple of points. Threw me by surprise when it happened because I'd been reading for a good part of 2013 that PageRank wasn't going to roll out again anytime soon. – MorganSA Feb 10 '14 at 2:49

Just an additional note to dan's answer: what you describe in your question is actually an old trick where if you redirect page B to page A, page B would gain the PageRank of page A.

This was manipulated in the past by making a URL on your site redirect to google.com, which had PR 10. Then after a few weeks, you'd update that page with new content and your page would temporarily keep PR 10 while also being relevant for a particular query, and thus be #1 in results.

Needless to say, Google got wise to that pretty quickly and this no longer has any effect (in fact it may even be seen as spam and cause a site penalty).

If your current page (page A in the above example) already has a good PR, then redirecting that to the new page (B) will transfer the PageRank so there is no need for silly tricks.

  • Thanks, DG, but I understand PR won't transfer 100% - at least not right away. – MorganSA Feb 10 '14 at 2:52

Do you need to change the URL, or can you repurpose the high-ranking URL instead?

In other words, change of content that is still related to the old content, rather than a permanent redirect. PageRank will drop as far a Google is concerned, but 85% is not as good as 100% but way better than 0%. Of course any giant changes in other areas can have an effect as well. But 85% is not as good as 100% but better than the alternative.

If you think about it, a 301 redirect should have a little impact on the ranking, at least, and here's why: for external links into the website, now killed and served up as a new page.

Google has had for a few years now, at least has been reported to have a minimum of 15% penalty, or better stated 85% passthrough if you cannot keep the original URL. Only 85% of the page rank is retained as a penalty for not keeping the golden rule never ever change an URL EVER. If you bought it for its page rank, you lose 15% instantly for gobbling it up. It makes sense.

Reason for penalty, and it might be much higher than 15% now: there is no legitimate reason as far as Google is concerned for changing an URL, unless you are shortening your website domain name, but KEEP the Old long one and permanently redirect it to the new folder of the shorter domain name.

In any case there is a hit on ranking to say convert one system to another: .asp to .php, .html to .php etc.

Another fix is NOT to 301 redirect with HTML where ranking is important but keep it(them) if it is worth it for you to have the server process a certain extension as a .php extension if it can, if changing extensions is your reason to redirect.

An unknown penalty hit is to make you think twice about plying games: I don't think anyone knows how big the hit is now: If done for the wrong purpose, the hit is registering your website as SPAM (perhaps a 20000% hit on the ENTIRE website, not just the page(s) in question.

For more information on the negative consequences here is a link to another thread in this forum recently: Does purposely linking to an invalid URL and then using 301 affect SEO?

Google wants webmasters thinking of content, not gaming-masters-of-ranking. That's why they will not release Google Ranks anymore.

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    Can you site a source for this because I don't think it's true – John Conde Feb 9 '14 at 23:40
  • Do a Google search on it you will find it mentioned many times since 2010 by authority sites. Google Rank should be hit since the page has been gamed to a different address. The hit of 85% U believe was the minimum hit, SPAM, the maximum hit. – user298723 Feb 9 '14 at 23:57
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    @user298723 Not sure how the above answers the OP's question, but in regards to your comment: Matt Cutts addressed that here recently, stating that 301 redirects don't hurt you and only relatively dissipate PageRank. – dan Feb 10 '14 at 2:26
  • So he is the most authoritative guy I heard recently (the same video you posted) of the 15% hit, which is a small hit compared with 100% if the link is lost. And if it is redirected again it gets another 15% hit. But my point is it is not a LOSSLESS hit, it certainly discouraged doing it an infinite amount of times. So Google is the authority about what they do. – user298723 Feb 10 '14 at 4:16

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