When to Use a 301 or 302 Redirect for SEO Success

If you have a website that has either gone through some changes or has pages that no longer exist, then you will want to read this and make sure you’ve implemented the correct SEO redirect.

SEO Lost Signpost

The last thing you want to do is send a target market to the wrong page or, worse, to the dreaded “404 page not found”. I’m going to help you to better understand the difference between 301 and 302 redirects as well as how to implement these redirect types to make both visitors and search engines happy.

At some time, almost every website needs to implement SEO redirects. This may be because content was moved or the website moves to a new domain. Whatever the reason, these SEO domain redirects help you to:

  1. Keep the traffic flowing.
  2. Passing along the value old URLs have been given by the search engines.
  3. Keep visitor bookmarks working.

The 301 Redirect for SEO

This redirect is also known as the “permanent redirect” as it tells the search engines that the content has moved to a new location. By stating the intent to move permanently, the search engines know to transfer any URL value to the new location. It should be noted that this does not pass all the value but it does give it a great foundation to start.

The 302 Redirect for SEO

Unlike the 301 redirect, the 302 redirect is a “temporary move” of content. This redirect lets the search engine know that any URL value should remain with the old page. It will still move along your traffic but this is not what you want if you moved content to a new home.

Sometimes the search engines will be smart enough to know if you’ve made a mistake on your redirect. However, you never want to leave this to chance as search engine algorithms are changing all the time.

When to Use Redirects for SEO

  • The website is moved to a new domain (SEO domain redirects)
  • The permalink structure of your URLs have changed across the website
  • The navigation hierarchy of your website has changed

Redirects are a small thing in SEO that can wield a lot of power. Misusing them may not only results in frustrated humans that never return but also in frustrated search engine robots that can hide your website in the deepest caverns of the search engine results page (SERP). Be careful and do research to better understand which one will work best for your situation and website structure. Guessing is not an option when it comes to redirects and SEO.

Question: Have you ever implemented redirects on your website? What further advice would you give to businesses that are new to redirects? Be sure to tell us about it in your comment below and share your wisdom with others.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Yes! Our WP site was breached and we ended up experiencing numerous 404 Page Not Found errors along with various other major issues, the site was taken down and a new site is being built – it’s about time we got a new site anyway.

    Your response on Quora was much appreciated and is extremely useful. Thank you!

    • So glad I could help. The easiest way to start your 301 redirect strategy is by creating a spreadsheet with the old URLs in 1 column and the new ones in the another column. This way, when you create the htaccess file, no URLs are missed. Good luck and I am glad I could help, Luh!