Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by Bree Weasner on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, 07/25/2013).

Do with 301 redirects pass on a penalty?

First time asking a question here, and it has to do with 301`s passing on a penalty. Some say it does, and some say it doesn`t.

This May, I took down an 12-year-old site that ranked high for 11 years, then suddenly vanished into a blackhole in google. No warnings, nothing as to WHY. Consensus was excessive backlinks, but really not sure.  So I started all over with new domain end of May this year, NOT setting up any 301`s for fear of possibly carrying over a penalty from the old domain.  I set up old domain with custom 404 on all pages letting visitors know new domain address, with nofollow link to new domain.

Since many of the old domain`s pages are still backlinked on the web, and I really don`t want to lose anymore visitors to these 404 pages, would it be acceptable in the "eyes" of google to put a nofollow link on those 404 pages (while also making these pages noindex/nofollow), telling visitors the new page`s exact location?  This would certainly increase my traffic to the new domain, visitors would still get to the page they were initially looking for, but I don`t want to hurt the new domain in the long run.

OR, the other thought I had...I`m using SEO Yoast, and I have the ability in their Advanced setting for each page/post, to actually set up the 301 AND also making the page noindex/nofollow (all at the same time).  This would be done manually, in each page/post. I tested this the other day, and then did a Fetch as Google, and only saw the 301 redirect...code did not show noindex/nofollow.  This scared me enough to remove that 301.

Can anyone provide me with some `good practice` guideline on how to handle this please?  Thank you very much!
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Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions Facebook & G+ community.

  • Michael W. Roberts: Not really sure for best tactic here, but what about using 302s? Usually link value (and penalty?) stops, but users would still get the content they wanted.
  • Tony McCreath: On a technical point, if a url does a 301 redirect then its content is never seen which includes any noindex meta tags.

    There is the x-robots-tag http header though. That will be seen next to the 301 directive. I wonder if that can influence anything. I suspect not.

View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, 07/25/2013).

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