301 Redirect vs. 302 Redirect: Which Is Better?

owl WECRA | technical SEO auditing

What is an URL redirect?
URL redirection (or URL forwarding), is a server response for any request to a specific web page, making it available under more than one URL address. When a web browser attempts to open an URL that has been redirected, a page with a different URL is opened. In short: All traffic intended for URL-A is redirected to URL-B. A redirect is a way to send both users and search engines to a different URL from the one they originally requested.

What is a 301 redirect?
A 301 redirect (Moved Permanently) is a permanent redirect which passes the link juice (or ranking power) to the redirected page. 301 refers to the HTTP status code for this type of redirect. In short: All traffic intended for URL-A is permanently redirected to URL-B. All link popularity and existing SEO value for URL-A should also be transferred to URL-B.

What is a 302 redirect?
A 302 redirect (Found) means that the move is only temporary. 302 refers to the HTTP status code for this type of redirect. In short: All traffic intended for URL-A is temporarily redirected to URL-B. Search engines need to figure out whether to keep the old page or replace it with the one found at the new location.

What is a 307 redirect?
A 307 redirect (Moved Temporarily) is the HTTP 1.1 successor of the 302 redirect. While the major crawlers will treat it like a 302 in some cases, it is best to use a 301 for almost all cases. In short: All traffic intended for URL-A is temporarily moved to URL-B. Search engines need to figure out whether to keep the old page or replace it with the one found at the new location.

Technical Redirect Auditing: Audit your 301/302 Redirects before they Ruin Your SEO Rankings

301 Redirect vs. 302 Redirect: Which Is Better?
In the real world, businesses avoid changing their names because they appear shady. A redirecting request from one page to another also adds extra loading time. Loading time increases exponentially when a page from one domain is redirected to another domain’s web page. Who can blame SERP’s for employing the same logic: if you’re changing URLs, you might be up to no good.

In any instances, the 301 Redirect is the best method for implementing redirects on an existing URL.

When permanently moving a web site or a web page, the best practice is to use a 301 redirect. A 302 solution in this situation seems incorrect. By saying “temporary move” a 302 tells search engines to keep the old domain or page indexed, but it would be desirable for them to index the new location and forget the old one.

If a 302 is used instead of a 301, search engines might continue to index the old URL, and disregard the new one as a duplicate. Link popularity might be divided between the two URLs, hurting search rankings. Search engines might figure out how to handle the 302, or they might not.

Technical Redirect Auditing: Are your redirects sending visitors & bots on a wild goose chase?

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