Based on previous comments from Google we thought web pages lost some PageRank when using a 301 redirect, here’s a portion of a 2010 interview with Google Engineer Matt Cutts that says as much:
Interview question asked by Eric Enge: Let’s say you move from one domain to another and you write yourself a nice little statement that basically instructs the search engine and, any user agent on how to remap from one domain to the other. In a scenario like this, is there some loss in PageRank that can take place simply because the user who originally implemented a link to the site didn’t link to it on the new domain?
Matt Cutts Answers: That’s a good question, and I am not 100 percent sure about the answer. I can certainly see how there could be some loss of PageRank. I am not 100 percent sure whether the crawling and indexing team has implemented that sort of natural PageRank decay, so I will have to go and check on that specific case. (Note: in a follow on email, Matt confirmed that this is in fact the case. There is some loss of PR through a 301).
Fast forward to 2013 and this new video Matt Cutts released answering the loss of PageRank question a little differently:
Matt Cutts, 1:34 The amount of page rank that dissipates through a 301 is almost exactly–is currently identical to the amount of page rank that dissipates through a link.
Or in other words, not much.
Makes sense when you think about the actual mechanics of links and redirects but what about using the 301 itself, can that be a problem?
I maintain it can if used to manipulate links and the funneling of PageRank. What redirects do quite nicely is leave an easy footprint, if you start buying and redirecting domains as a way to increase your link popularity you may find yourself on the receiving end of a love note or worse — your links will be ignored. In that case, the money you shelled out buying old domains might not be money well spent.
Buying old domains for their backlinks and toolbar PageRank is an age-old tactic that still works and makes sense in some situations but I wouldn’t over do it and would not buy domains outside my industry and niche. Keep in mind a 301 is easy for bots and competitors to spot.
The following 2013 video is from Google Engineer Matt Cutts explaining the amount of PageRank lost in through 301 redirects.
Good discussion on the topic of chained redirects on WebmasterWorld forum http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4548792.htm