301 vs. 302 Redirects:Which is best for SEO?

Redirect

Even in 2020 website owners are confused about which redirect to use – 301 or 302? In simple terms, a redirect is a way to send a search engine and users to a new URL which is different from the one that was originally requested. A lot of website owners think that both 301 and 302 work the same way, however, that’s not the case.

Today we will talk about what these redirects are, how they work and how they affect SEO.

Why Do You Need To Redirect A Page?

There are many reasons why you redirect a page. These include:

  • A new website or page

  • Broken URL

  • Web Page under construction 

  • Website mergers

The type of redirect you should use depends upon the purpose of redirect. As you know, choosing the wrong kind of redirect can impact SEO, therefore, pick the one that is not only suitable for your problem but will also keep your search engine ranking.

What is 301 Redirect?

A 301 redirect sends the users and search engine to the correct page. Website owners use a 301 status code when a web page has a permanent new location. Users are directed to a new URL that replaces the old one.

  • When to Use 301 Redirects?

301 redirect is used to send users and search engines to a new website for various reasons. For example, it helps establish which domain is the default website. 301 Redirects are also used for replacing outdated URLs, HTTP to HTTPS migration, when you have merged two sites together and when you have a new domain name.

What is 302 Redirect? 

302 is an HTTP status code which is a temporary redirect and sends users and search engines to the desired destination for a short period of time. It informs users and search engines that the webpage has been moved temporarily and will be accessible once the redirect is removed.

  • When to Use 302 Redirect?

Commonly 302 redirects are used to send users and search engines to the new location for a short time period like while updating or redesigning the site. Website owners usually use this redirect to A/B test out the new web page and get feedback without compromising the original page rankings. You can also use a 302 redirect to fix a broken webpage while maintaining the user experience and not causing any inconvenience to the visitors. 

The Effect of 301 and 302 Redirects on SEO

Using the 301 redirects will tell Google to remove the old webpage from its index and the link equity from that web page is also transferred to the new one. It is important to note here that when you move a webpage from one URL to another it takes search engines some time to notice the change and make any potential change in the rankings.

Whereas when it comes to 302 redirect the SEO efforts remain unchanged. When you choose a 302 redirect the webpage remains indexed in the search engine and no link equity is transferred to the new URL as the search engine knows that it is just a temporary change. In this way, your rankings, traffic, and authority are retained. 

Engine optimization SEO is impacted when users do not fully understand the difference between the two redirects and choose the wrong one. Basically, what they do is create a new website and not transfer the values they have accrued over time to the new one. Thus, losing the traffic, ranking or online authority that the old webpage originally had. 

This is why it is important to understand the difference between 301 and 302 redirects and when to use them in order to maintain the best of your search engine efforts.

Implementing 301 and 302 Redirects

Being the largest search engine in the world, with almost 92% of the global search engine traffic (Source: StatCounter), most SEO strategies revolve around Google. Therefore, in order to implement 301 redirects in Google let us take a look at what Google itself has to say about it: 

“To implement 301 redirects for websites that are hosted on servers running Apache, you will need access to your servers .htaccess file.” (Source: Google Support

There are several tutorials available on the net to help you to access .htaccess file and change the redirect status. Once the status has been changed you can use Google search console to check the indexing status and website optimization. 

As stated before, implementing the 302 status does not affect SEO. However, even with 301 redirects, you do not have to put in an extra effort like new keywords, inbound links or link building to enhance search engine optimization because:

Gary Illyes (Google Spokesperson) said, “Go with whatever you like because as far as redirects go, 301s and 302s to identical content, both pass the same PageRank.” (Source: Search Engine Land)

Hence, focus on choosing the right redirect for the purpose.

The Verdict

To put it briefly, you should use whatever type of redirect is the most suitable option for your intended goals and purpose. Understand the two concepts and their differences and make sure that you are using the right redirect to get the right outcome. 

For example, using 302 redirects to expect a temporary change which later on becomes permanent, be sure to move from 302 to 301 instead. 

Here is a useful image to help you understand how to use redirects appropriately:

Image Source: https://searchengineland.com/

To conclude, monitor your rankings to ensure that search engines are able to index the new URL and understand the purpose behind the redirect. 

We hope this article was informative and gave you the insight you were looking for!

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