When creating new pages, you always have the choice of how to include them in your current website structure. The standard is if it’s a new page you link to it, and if it’s replacing an old page you do a 301 redirect. There are urban legends surrounding these techniques though, and they cause many Webmasters and SEO for small business experts no small amount of grief.
The legend goes that you lose less pagerank when you 301 redirect than when you directly link. This has caused some misguided individuals to set up complicated 301 redirect structures, attempting to trick Google into ranking their site higher than they would with a traditional internal linking strategy. It’s always been a suspect theory, and this week Matt Cutts did his best to dispel it entirely.
In this week’s Google Webmaster Help YouTube video, Matt Cutts answers the question about 301s and the pagerank they pass versus regular internal links. He confirmed that while they may have been different at some point in the past, currently, there is no appreciable difference between the amount of pagerank lost with a link and with a 301 redirect. So when building your site, use whichever is most appropriate and don’t stress about the rank conferred.
If you want to check out the video for yourself, you can find the account here.