302 Redirect: Basics, When to Use & SEO Considerations




Updated 2/5/2024

Learn the pros and cons of using 302 redirects on your website. Understand when to use temporary redirects and their SEO implications.

302 redirect cover

If you work with websites, chances are you’ll need to manage and redirect pages at some point. While there are many types of redirects, the two main options are 302 and 301 redirects. Each type has its own uses, benefits, and SEO considerations.

This quick guide covers what you need to know about 302 redirects, how they relate to SEO, and when to use them for your site.

What is a 302 Redirect?

A 302 redirect is a type of HTTP status code that indicates a temporary redirection of a webpage.

When a server responds with a 302 redirect, it tells the client (like a web browser) that the requested resource has been temporarily moved to a different URL.

Simpler Terms

Imagine you go to the grocery store looking for apples. But today, there’s a sign in the produce section saying, “Apples temporarily moved to Aisle 5.” This is like a 302 redirect on a website.

It’s the store saying, “You usually find apples here, but for now, they’re in a different spot. Don’t worry; they’ll be back here soon.” Just like with a 302 redirect, the usual spot for apples (the original webpage) is still considered their main place, but for now, they’re just being placed somewhere else temporarily.

301 vs. 302 Redirects

Unless you’re an experienced web developer, chances are you’ll only have to worry about using 301 or 302 redirects. Let’s examine the differences:

  1. 301: A permanent redirect. Used when a webpage has been moved to a new location or for other site management purposes.
  2. 302: A temporary redirect. Used when a webpage is temporarily moved to a different URL and the original will be used again.

These serve most purposes and communicate specific instructions to web browsers and search engines.

302s and SEO

In contrast to 301 redirects, which indicate a permanent move and pass most of the link equity from the original page to the new one, 302 redirects do not pass on significant SEO value. They serve as temporary solutions, not site management tools.

Here’s what Google says about temporary redirects, emphasis added:

Googlebot follows the redirect, and the indexing pipeline uses the redirect as a weak signal that the redirect target should be canonical.

Redirects and Google Search

To translate Googleze, their web crawler isn’t going to care too much about a 302 redirect if it’s only a temporary thing.

Going back to the store analogy, this makes sense. You might be thrown off by the temporary apple location, but as long as the change only lasts a little while, you shouldn’t have to remember to look for apples in the new location.

In most cases, it’s an SEO best practice to use 301 redirects over 302s. However, there are some common reasons why you might use them.

When to Use 302s

Here are some common scenarios where using a temporary redirect is appropriate:

  1. Testing a New Page: If you’re experimenting with a new page and want to get feedback or track user behavior without affecting your current page’s ranking, a 302 redirect can temporarily send visitors to the new page.
  2. Seasonal Changes or Promotions: For seasonal content or promotions like a holiday sale. You can temporarily redirect a standard page to a special event or promotion page and revert it back after the event.
  3. Website Maintenance or Updates: If parts of your website are under maintenance or being updated, a 302 redirect is a good option to temporarily send visitors to a different page until the original page is back online.
  4. A/B Testing: To compare two or more page versions regarding performance and user engagement, 302 redirects can be used to alternate between versions.
  5. Temporarily Out of Stock Products: If a product is temporarily unavailable, you can redirect to a similar product or category until the original product is back in stock.

Using a 302 is suitable in these scenarios because it conveys to search engines that the change is only temporary, which should preserve the ranking of the original page.

Bottom Line

302 redirects are good solutions for temporarily moving a page or its content. However, you should use 301s for most purposes, as they transfer significantly more SEO value and send better signals to search engines about site changes. ?


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