I've put in place a lot of different 301 redirects to deal with numerous URL changes.

And for certain URLs there are 3-4 different 301 redirects landing the visitors to the new URL.

I heard that 301 loses pagerank/linkjuice. All the 301's are onsite for the same domain. With a mix of PHP 301's and htaccess 301's.

So for instance:

articles/news.php?id=2 ---> articles/blog.php?id=2  [filename change]
articles/* ---> /*                                  [subdir to root]
/blog.php?id=2 ---> /title-of-post                  [mod rewrite url change]

So if you were to visit /articles/news.php?id=2 there will be two 301 redirects until you land on the /yellow-wellington-boots/.

My question is does Google see the intermediate redirects, or just the final page the 301's redirect to?

  • 1
    Any reason you can't skip all of the middle redirects?
    – John Conde
    Feb 20, 2011 at 4:20

1 Answer 1


The crawler will probably "see" the intermediate URLs insofar as going there and then being redirected again, but it won't actually care about or store/index them, as that's the entire point of the 301: you're telling it that URL is no longer valid and to go look elsewhere.

Last June, Matt Cutts did a video with SEOMoz where redirect chains were specifically brought up ~10:00, summarized as:

Matt was very clear that Google can and usually will deal with one or two redirects in a series, but three is pushing it and anything beyond that probably won't be followed.

...though elsewhere he's quoted as saying at a PubCon that Google would follow up to ten of them. (I wouldn't try and find out.) And here's another post that mentions Bing–now also powering Yahoo–have at some point said they don't like it, either.

All that said, you should ultimately work toward getting rid of the intermediate steps altogether.

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