Any webmaster would want to know more about the difference between a 301 and 302 redirect. One of the main differences between 301 and 302 HTTP redirects is their SEO value.
The user’s search experience may be the same, as both options take the user to the corresponding web page, but search engines handle these types of redirects differently.
The wrong redirect can cause a loss of traffic to the website. Therefore, it is important to know the differences and characteristics of redirects (301 – 302) and follow best practices to optimize the SEO performance of the website.
What is a redirect?
A redirect is a way to send both users and search engines to a different URL than the one they originally requested. In other words, redirection is the process of forwarding a URL to a different URL.
The 301 and 302 codes are part of a collection of five groups of website status codes. Also known as HTTP status codes. They serve to communicate to web servers and your search engine what is about to happen to a particular web page.
The main difference between a 301 redirect is a permanent change in traffic flow, while a 302 redirect allows you to temporarily divert traffic. Search engines must decide whether to keep the old page or replace it with the one in the new location.
A 301 redirect means that the website has been permanently moved to a new location. In most cases, the 301 redirect is the best method for implementing redirects on a website and is the best option for SEO.
The 301 redirect is not useful for temporary changes. 301 redirects should be used for:
- Links to any outdated URLs that need to be sent to the desired web page.
- When there are multiple URLs that are used to access a website. A single URL should be selected as the canonical and preferred destination and its 301 redirects should be used to redirect traffic to the preferred or new URL.
- If you have moved a website to a new domain and want to make the transition from the old domain to a new website as smooth as possible.
- If you are migrating from http to https.
A 302 redirect is a temporary redirect and directs users and search engines to the desired page for a limited period of time until it is removed.
It is important to remember that 302 redirects are temporary and are used by webmasters to evaluate the performance of the website. 302 redirects are also useful to:
- Perform A/B testing of a website for functionality or design.
- Obtain customer feedback on a new page without affecting the site’s ranking.
- Update a web page while providing viewers with a consistent experience.
Website rotates and you want to maintain a good user experience in the meantime.
Once a 302 redirect has been in place for a while, search engines may begin to treat it as a 301 redirect and pass on its SEO value.
How do 301 and 301 redirects affect SEO?
The use of 301 redirects does not cause a loss in link juice. However, according to some experts, 301 redirects can result in a 15% loss in link juice.
When using 302 redirects, there is no impact on PageRank, page authority or traffic value. However, special care must be taken, as a wrong 302 redirect can cause confusion and negatively affect search engine visibility.
On the other hand, no one knows precisely how long a 302 redirect must be in place before Google begins to treat it as a permanent redirect. Usually it is a few weeks to a few months, but it can be days, weeks or months.
In some circumstances, Google even seems to treat 302s as 301s from the start.
302 redirects should only be used if it is a temporary change, and they are often used because it is easier to create that instance than a permanent 301 redirect.