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Old 07-08-2005   #1
Nacho
 
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Does Age in URL transfer with 301?

We know link popularity follows to the new destination on 301s.

What I'm concerned is, if search engines consider the URL's age as part of the time factors and it has any value in the algorithms, will that transfer over to the new URL after doing a 301?

Thanks!
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Old 07-08-2005   #2
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If I'm not mistaken, with Yahoo there may not be an expiration of value, according to a few things I've seen. But probably with Google we might have to take another look and try to figure out what they are or aren't doing with "historical" data, as outlined in their recent Patent.
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Old 07-09-2005   #3
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If I understand you correctly, you are asking that if an older domain is 301 redirected to a new domain, will it pass its age to the new and the answer is no, at least in my experience.

We recently did this as a client was rebranding and it still took 8 months for the new domain to come out of the Google "Sandbox". The old domain was probably three years old.
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Old 07-09-2005   #4
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Good point David and thank you for your example. It's a very useful experiment to see the result for a domain.

However, it may or may not be a domain. The question was triggered on a site redesign. In this case it's not the domain that is being 301ed but an actual set of URLs. For example:

domain.com/old-category1-name.html

gets 301 to

domain.com/new-category1-name.html

By this we know it's giving the search engines the instuction to notify that a page was permanently moved to a new destination, as well as link popularity will follow. The question is, will the age recorded in the search engine's records for "old-category1-name.html" follow down to the "new-category1-name.html"?

We are interested in doing it, only if it's safe, to improve the keywords on the URL. Some of them are even misspelled, threfore require this enhancement.
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Old 07-09-2005   #5
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What I'm concerned is, if search engines consider the URL's age as part of the time factors and it has any value in the algorithms, will that transfer over to the new URL after doing a 301?
It does not appear to with Google.

But Scottie Claiborne has found a great workaround which she has successfully used on many sites. Basically, it's just to use a 302-redirect temporarily until the aging delay is over.
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Old 07-09-2005   #6
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Yahoo and Google don't seem to handle 301's the same way - or 302's, for that matter.

Just this week I saw a site 301'd *to* showing up for having backlinks at Yahoo that actually point to the original site that was redirected to it. And that redirection was implemented a few years ago, back in Inktomi days.

Very interesting about 302's being used within a site, thanks.

Now I'm wondering what effect it would have if pages in the Supplemental Index were 302'd to new pages on a site with better content.
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Old 07-10-2005   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jill Whalen
It does not appear to with Google.

But Scottie Claiborne has found a great workaround which she has successfully used on many sites. Basically, it's just to use a 302-redirect temporarily until the aging delay is over.
Thanks for the article Jill, it's a great read! However, it still doesn't answer the challange we have. It's mainly focused on moving a site to a new domain.

In our challange, we're keeping the same domain. We only want to switch URLs for a bunch of categories on a site.

It's my understanding that URLs is what makes pages unique on the web and what search engines assign a signature file to. A 302 will not help the new URL rank higher because the search engine considers it a temporary move, therefore link pop and other factors don't follow. Plus one of those factors we want to add to the new URL are the keywords on it.

The general idea/concept of Scottie's article is there... but it doesn't quite describe a solution for what we need because it's not the domain that is in question.
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Old 07-10-2005   #8
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In our challange, we're keeping the same domain. We only want to switch URLs for a bunch of categories on a site.
Same old domain name?

Then you have nothing to worry about. Google's aging delay only effects new domain names, not new pages of a site.
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Old 07-10-2005   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jill Whalen
Then you have nothing to worry about. Google's aging delay only effects new domain names, not new pages of a site.
I believe I do have elements to worry about and it does apply to each pages of a site.

According to the patent, it says:
Quote:
3. The method of claim 2, wherein the document includes a plurality of documents; and wherein the scoring the document includes: determining an age of each of the documents based on the inception dates corresponding to the documents, determining an average age of the documents based on the ages of the documents, and scoring the documents based, at least in part, on a difference between the ages of the documents and the average age.
<added>That's in the case for Google. I believe this will be a common approach by all search engines.</added>

Last edited by Nacho : 07-10-2005 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 07-10-2005   #10
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Regardless of what the patent says, there's been no evidence that I know of that shows any aging delay for new pages of an existing site. Have you seen any evidence of this?
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Old 07-10-2005   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jill Whalen
Regardless of what the patent says, there's been no evidence that I know of that shows any aging delay for new pages of an existing site. Have you seen any evidence of this?
I have not seen any aging delay on the moderate number of new pages I've added to existing sites. I've also had good luck with 301s on existing pages on existing sites.

I'm wary, though, about big changes on a site. Anecdotal consensus seems to be that there shouldn't be any problem with, say, 50-100 pages, but I don't know that for sure. The number of pages threshold also may be much higher. It would be good to get feedback on this.

It's very likely that other quality factors of a site will affect how Google regards changes to it. See recent discussions on Google and website 'profiles'...
http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/...ead.php?t=6709

I have had big problems with changing domain names. 7 or 8 months is about the right figure.
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Old 07-10-2005   #12
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PS - I wouldn't go anywhere near that 302 scheme.
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Old 07-10-2005   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jill Whalen
Regardless of what the patent says, there's been no evidence that I know of that shows any aging delay for new pages of an existing site. Have you seen any evidence of this?
It's impossible for me to disregard what the patent says. I've always optimized sites with whatever leads I can get my hands on for it's future success rather than present or past.

What we've seen so far in terms of 301 for URL age testing at the page level is primarily based on very large sites (at 100K+ pages). The very little evidence we have is not enough to draw conclusions on any theories. The site we may be applying it to is much smaller (about 3K+ pages). This is why I've come to the forum to request others to share their trial and error.

Now, if in fact search engine's are or are not appling an age factor into individual pages. It would be very difficult to determine at what degree this factor plays a role along side the many other factors. We consider all factors important and therefore we worry.
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Old 07-11-2005   #14
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Nacho,

I think the answer, if I understand your question, is no.

I have expanded sites with new URLs, new subdomains, and 301s from old to new file names within the same domain, without any sandbox (or aging delay) occurring.
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Old 07-11-2005   #15
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I've had similar experiences to Barry's. At least two clients since January have had to rewrite URLs within the same domain, using 301s - anywhere from 5K to 100K specific pages - with no noticable effects.
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Old 07-11-2005   #16
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Thank you Jill, Barry and everyone else! I appreciate your feedback.

If age does not transfer in 301, then how big of a loss is it?
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Old 07-11-2005   #17
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There have been some reports of large sites undergoing major overhauls (including URL changes) and having problems after. Mixed reports.

Is it possible to only move one site section to a new directory/naming scheme and see what happens, as a test?
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Old 07-17-2005   #18
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IMO just because Google have applied for a patent, it is not necessarily an indication that they are actually USING the methods outlined in a patent. The patent you are referring to is a great example, as I think everyone pretty well agrees that not all the 50 or so schemes mentioned could be implemented in any one search engine. The Localrank Patent is another example of a patent granted but not used.

I agree that the sandbox affects domains not pages.
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Old 07-18-2005   #19
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Two biggest enemies

The two biggest enemies of SEO in the future will be time and personalization. Factoring in the detriment and difficulty (higher possibility for failure over an increased duration of time) of both as a factor will reduce the relative value of SEO. As personalization divides larger markets it will lower the higher level of spoils for a top ranking as well. Of course making it tougher for SEO to exist will make top SEO's even more valuable I suppose.

I think time *is* a big issue, and you don't want to set your client back 6 months or more if possible. I think there are instances where 301's have worked against the "age filter", but it is not a guaranteed. 30 - 60 days for the SE's to pick up the 301 is a LONG time to lose some decent rankings regardless. Try to talk them out of it, or at least create a few content page "microsite" to start off for 3 - 9 months pointing a few links at it per week to build a base.

Historical data is definitely the place to be looking for weak links in the algo chain right now imho. If I *did* know 'em they wouldn't stay exploits for very long in a public forum.

This is a tough question that I think a lot of SEO's are probably trying to talk their clients out of at this point. Would love to hear more experience with 301'ing entire domains with any type of decent rankings in the last two years. Has anybody had the balls?

My guess (and from what I've heard) is that you might "hop outta the box" a bit sooner than if it was a brand new domain, but you're still gettin' tossed in 6 months or so (which sucks). Find out everything you can do to hop out quicker and keep your time outta the serps as small as possible.

<added>Found a couple 301 horror stories from wmw...it seems maybe re-branding vs. re-sandboxing might be a great future debate.

Last edited by stuntdubl : 07-18-2005 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 07-18-2005   #20
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Nacho,

I think your question begs another question:

Which affects a page's rankings more - information architecture or historical URL location.

Based on my intuition, I'd 301 the page, not worry about losing the age bonus, and instead look forward to the bump I'd receive by re-organizing the site's documents to be more in tune with what searchers and engines want.

After all, there may not be a "perfect" solution, but this one is better than the old one!

Speaking on the subject of 301s putting sites back into the sandbox, I can confirm now that despite absolutely no "funny business" or unnatural links - it looks like SEOmoz has been "boxed" after the move from socengine.com/seo to seomoz.org - good data to have and a good example for those who'd like to point to one publicly.
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