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Old 10-12-2005   #1
adamclark
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Can a 301 Redirect pass on negative Page Rank

Hi,

I have a client that has 10 old gateway sites that they no longer wish to maintain, but 3-4 of them for some reason have fairly good Page Ranks (7), a couple of others have around PR4 the rest PR0 or PR1 (as the result of some dodgy link partnerships I think).

I ideally felt that I should 301 them all to the clients new site to give it a bit of a boost. Then I started think with all the talk about passing positive page rank through setting up a 301 from one site to another could the reverse be true? If I 301 a 0 PR site will I be passing on a negative to my new site?

I guess I could of course just 301 the PR5, 6 & & sites anyway but I was just wondering if anyone had any thoughts on this.

Thanks

Adam
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Old 10-12-2005   #2
bhartzer
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You should definitely redirect the old domains with a 301 Permanent Redirect to the one main domain. When you redirect a domain with a 301 the redirected domain only adds to the PR of the main domain, it doesn't negatively impact it. In fact, they combine the PR, so redirecting it with a 301 can only help--it can't hurt.
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Old 10-12-2005   #3
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Unless it had been banned or penalized...

But that's not a PageRank issue, that's a trust issue.

PageRank is only additive - there is no such thing as a "negative" PR. But there is a such thing as a negative reputation.

A 301 officially tells a search engine that the old site is now the new site - for better or worse. If these sites have not been banned, are not members of a bad neighbourhood, etc then 301'ing them can only help you.

If, however, they are considered to be untrustworthy and then you tell the search engine that this untrustworthy site is now someplace else with a different name, then how that is handled is up to the search engine - but that is what you are telling them.

Since you are also telling them that some other (trustworthy) sites are also the same site, I'm not certain how the search engine in question would react - I suspect it would depend on the exact situation, rather than a general rule.

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Last edited by mcanerin : 10-12-2005 at 03:40 PM.
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Old 10-12-2005   #4
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Quote:
Unless it had been banned or penalized.
I don't agree. If you 301 a banned domain to a domain that ranks well and is not banned the banned domain will not hurt the other domain.

If that were the case, then I could get one of my domains banned, 301 it to my competitor and hurt their site and their rankings.
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Old 10-12-2005   #5
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I'd like to try that... See if you can ban (or hurt) a site in Google by 301ing a bunch of banned domains to it. I wonder if I have a site I can spare...
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Old 10-12-2005   #6
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Quote:
I'd like to try that
I've done it and it doesn't work.

I've also seen the results of some other interesting tests done, like this one:
1.Buy domain. (or use existing domain)
2.Change all the whois information so it has a competitor's contact details listed.
3.Put the nastiest most spammy pages on it, like pages with 5000 of the same anchor text links that point to that competitor's site.
4.Let that spammy site sit for a while and get indexed.
The results? It doesn't hurt the competitor's rankings, even though the site is "owned" by the competitor and links to their site.

The bottom line is that there doesn't appear to be anything you can do to hurt a competitor, even if you 301 redirect a banned site to another site.
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Old 10-12-2005   #7
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bhartzer - I think you are right.

Technically, it should pass on everything, but you (and randfish) are correct in pointing out that you could use a 301 to harm someone in that case, so the search engines would not let it happen.

A good case of real-life issues overriding theorectical ones. - thanks for bringing it up - good info!

I retract my earlier opinion on the reputation being passed.

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Old 10-12-2005   #8
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Very relieving - thanks for the update. Since I blogged on this, I'll go update that!
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Old 10-13-2005   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcanerin
I retract my earlier opinion on the reputation being passed.
It does make sense that Google wouldn't want a negative reputation to be passed on. But, let me play devil's advocate on this one, since I was of the same mind as rand and Ian. I did think the 301 would pass along everything, including the shoddy neighborhoods.

bhartzer - To leave no tern unstoned... how long was your 301 in place before you came to your conclusion? I ask because of the delay we're all seeing in the passing of link reputations to new domains via 301s.

I'm hoping, by the way, that you're right... I'd sleep easier knowing that we're not as vulnerable as we sometimes suppose.
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Old 10-13-2005   #10
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Hi,

Thanks very much for the replies in this thread. My initial knee jerk reaction would be that poor page rank sites being permanently redirected would be a problem but Bhartzer the point that you raise here:
Quote:
if that were the case, then I could get one of my domains banned, 301 it to my competitor and hurt their site and their rankings.
I just can't disagree with.

I know Matt Cutts from Google said at a previous SES in London (2004) in a Q&A session that you can't really help who links to your site but you can help who you link to so I can only guess the same has to apply.

I'm going to gradually 301 these domains and see if I experience any negative reactions to this. I'll post my findings at a later date.

Thanks again

Adam
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Old 11-01-2005   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhartzer
I've done it and it doesn't work.

I've also seen the results of some other interesting tests done, like this one:
1.Buy domain. (or use existing domain)
2.Change all the whois information so it has a competitor's contact details listed.
3.Put the nastiest most spammy pages on it, like pages with 5000 of the same anchor text links that point to that competitor's site.
4.Let that spammy site sit for a while and get indexed.
The results? It doesn't hurt the competitor's rankings, even though the site is "owned" by the competitor and links to their site.

The bottom line is that there doesn't appear to be anything you can do to hurt a competitor, even if you 301 redirect a banned site to another site.
bhartzer, did the spammy site get banned? If not, perhaps the test wasn't conclusive.
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Old 09-17-2009   #12
kevin4fun
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Re: Can a 301 Redirect pass on negative Page Rank

Did anyone test on this and got the result? :-)
Thanks.
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