301 Vs 302 Redirects: Their Differences And Uses

difference between 301 and 302 redirects Spoonfed SEO

Welcome back everybody! One question I’ve seen come up again and again is that of redirects; What are they? What is the difference between a 301 redirect and a 302 redirect and when should you use them?

Well, wonder no more! This Spoonfed guide will bring you through redirects, the difference between a 301 and a 302 and when is the most appropriate time to use either of them.

What Is a Redirect?

According to the good people at MOZ:

A redirect is a way to send both users and search engines to a different URL from the one they originally requested.

MOZ.com

So imagine you’ve recently deleted your blog page..

Some people will still try to access it; so in order to keep that traffic on your site and preventing them from leaving when they get that dreaded 404 message, you might redirect your /blog page to your /home page.

This way, any time someone tries to access the dead page, they will be redirected to a different, relevant page.

You might want to introduce redirects for a few of the below reasons:

  • You have a new website or page and want to direct traffic from the old page to the new one.
  • The old URL is broken and need to redirect it to a new URL
  • You’re performing maintenance on a page and need to redirect traffic to an alternate page.

Now depending on your redirecting needs, you are going to want to either permanently redirect your URL to a new one, or temporarily redirect it. That’s where 301’s and 302’s come in.

What Is a 301 Redirect?

A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect and likely the redirect you will be dealing with most of the time.

This handy number is essentially a message to the search engine that a page has moved permanently to another location.

If you’ve bought a new domain, re-working your URL structure or even deleting pages; if the new URL is going to be in place for at least a year or you know, permanently.. Then the 301 redirect is the one for you!

What Is a 302 Redirect?

So if a 301 is a permanent redirect, that must mean a 302 is a..

Dora waiting for an answer - Spoonfed SEO

.. that’s right! It’s a temporary redirect!

A 302 redirect tells search engines that the page has moved temporarily to a new location, but it’s only temporary and will be back up and running soon!

You might use a 302 redirect if your page is undergoing maintenance or you’re redesigning the page and want to keep people off of it during the updates.

So remember to only use a 302 if you plan on eventually bringing back the old page because using the wrong redirect can impact your SEO.

How Do Redirects Impact Your SEO?

I’m glad you asked!

Think about it like this..

When you develop a page, grow its reputation, build a backlink profile etc. that page gains authority, or in SEO terms “juice”.

When you use a 301 redirect, you’re signalling a permanent move and telling search engines to push everyone and all previous “juice” to the new page.

However, when you opt for a 302 redirect, you’re telling the search engine just to send people over here temporarily, this page will be back up and running soon.

So the “juice” isn’t passed on to the next page, because you’re signalling that you’re coming back.

Our friends over at Search Engine Journal created this handy infographic explaining this exact issue; a picture really does paint a thousand words, eh?

301 vs 302 redirects

Roundup

There you have it folks, finally a guide on 301 redirects vs 302 redirects that makes sense and is easy to follow, amirite?

So remember unless you plan on removing the redirect in the near future, use a 301 (permanent) redirect!

Redirects are one of many SEO Key Terms that we are faced with every day and it takes a while to get your head around them! We are trying our best to bring you easily digestible SEO guides here at Spoonfed SEO.

So if there are any other items you’d like us to cover, please get in touch through our contact form and we will do everything we can to help you out!

You can check out our recent guides on The Meta Description and Organic Traffic or just head to our blog for the full list of Spoonfed guides.

‘Till next time!

Author: Brian C

Brian is an SEO Manager for a leading Irish digital agency. With years of experience across Social Media Management, Content Development and Strategy and SEO for clients across a diverse portfolio, Brian shares his insights to make digital digestible for everyone.