301 vs 302 Redirect for SEO: Which is Better? 301 vs 302 Redirect for S...

301 vs 302 Redirect for SEO: Which is Better?


When a browser requests a website page from a server, the server sends a response to the browser to tell it if the request was successful. That response is called an HTTP response status code. A redirect response status code is a type of HTTP response status code that tells the browser that the webpage no longer exists at the requested URL and that the server is now redirecting the browser to the requested webpage at the new location. For those who use our web redirect function to create URL or port forwarding for your domains, you will have to choose between a 301 and 302 redirect. 301 and 302 are both redirect response status codes indicating whether the move to the new location is temporary or permanent.

301 vs 302 redirect

What is a 301 redirect and when to use it?

A 301 redirect is used when any page has been permanently moved to another location. Users will now see the new URL as it has replaced the old page. The 301s should be used when

  • you change the domain name of your website
  • you purchase additional domains that you want redirected to the primary domain
  • links to any outdated URLs need to be sent to your desired page
  • you perform a http to https migration
  • you establish which domain is your default site: www.example.com or just example.com
A 302 redirect is like sending a change of address form to your local post office when you move. In general, if you know the change is going to be permanent, you should use a 301. If you want to pass page rank to your new URL, use a 301.

What is a 302 redirect and when to use it?

A 302 redirect communicates that the content has been moved temporarily and that search engines need to keep the old URL in the index. Because of this, search engines won’t assign the URL’s authority and relevance to the redirect URL. The 302s should be used when

  • you perform A/B testing of a webpage for functionality or design
  • you want users to provide feedback on a new webpage without affecting the ranking of the old pages
  • the redirect is for internal use and the browser ranking does not matter to you
In general, you should only use a 302 if you’re planning on eventually bringing the old page back or setting up a new one.

How do 301 & 302 redirects impact SEO?

The 301 and 302 redirects are the same for visitors to your website and they will not notice any difference. 301 and 302 redirects are viewed differently by the browser though.

When you use a 301, Google removes the old page from their index, and link juice from that page is transferred to the new one. So anytime you move a page from one URL to another, it will take search engines some time to realize the change which will cause potential impact in rankings (Google aging delay). If you are financially reliant on search engine rankings, the best option is to not change a domain or URL. You may think that I should just use a 302 redirect instead of 301 to prevent Google aging delay, but it is not considered best practice by the search engine.

One thing to note is that a 301 redirect is cached by the visitor’s browser. If you make a change to the redirect target or remove the redirect altogether, the visitors who previously visited your website will still be redirected to the original redirect URL. The visitor needs to clear their browser cache to get to your current page. With that said, use a 302 redirect instead of 301 if you anticipate changes to the redirect.

How to check if a redirect is 301 or 302?

Open Chrome Window and press CTRL-SHIFT-j. Then choose the 'Network' panel. Feed web direct URLs into the browser and see the output in the 'Network' panel.

301 vs 302 redirect

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