301 vs 302 Redirects for SEO: What Are They & When to Use Them for Better SEO?

Choosing the right redirect can be tricky, but it’s crucial for maintaining your website’s SEO health and user experience. Let’s delve into the differences between 301 and 302 redirects and discover when to use each for optimal results:

If you are confused between 301 vs 302 redirects and looking for a simple tutorial, you are in the right place.

A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect, meaning the page is permanently moved to a new location. This passes full link juice or ranking power.

A 302 redirect is a temporary redirect, meaning the page is temporarily unavailable. This link does not pass juice.

Do you want a simple explanation with a real-world example?

Imagine you have moved into a new house:

301 Redirect:

  • Meaning: “Moved Permanently”. This tells search engines and users that the old URL is gone for good, and the new location is the definitive home for the content.
  • SEO Impact: Passes on link equity (ranking power) from the old URL to the new one, boosting its SEO performance.
  • Use Cases:
    • Permanently moved pages or website sections.
    • Merging two pages into one.
    • Switching from HTTP to HTTPS.
    • Renaming URLs for better user experience.

302 Redirect:

  • Meaning: “Found (Temporarily)”. This indicates that the content has temporarily moved, and the old URL might become active again later.
  • SEO Impact: Doesn’t transfer link equity, meaning the original URL retains its SEO value.
  • Use Cases:
    • A/B testing different versions of a page.
    • Running seasonal promotions or campaigns on separate pages.
    • Maintenance downtime on a specific page.
    • Handling temporary URL changes during website updates.

Choosing the Right Tool for the Job:

  • Always prioritize 301 redirects for permanent URL changes. This preserves SEO value and ensures a smooth transition for both users and search engines.
  • Reserve 302 redirects for temporary situations. Only use them if you intend to bring the content back to the original URL in the future.
  • Avoid redirect chains (301 to 302 or vice versa). They can slow down page loading times and confuse search engines. Stick to one type of redirect per URL.

Here’s a quick summary:

In this guide, you will learn when and how to use 301 and 301 redirects correctly.

Are you ready? Let’s go into details.

301 vs 302 Redirects for SEO: A Beginner’s Guide

301 Redirect: When to Use & How?

Purpose: Use this when the original URL is permanently unavailable so you can transfer the link juice of the old page to the new page.

When do I use a 301 redirect?

  • When a page has permanently moved to a new location.
  • When you delete a page but want to keep its SEO value.
  • When you want to merge multiple URLs into one (especially in the case of keyword cannibalization).
  • When you want to improve your website’s SEO.
  • When you change the domain name of your website.

Benefits of 301 Redirects:

  • People and search engines are automatically directed to the new location on your website.
  • Passes full “link juice” (ranking power) to the new page, helping it rank better in search results.
  • Prevents a drop in traffic by directing users to the new location, avoiding “404 Not Found” errors and broken links.
  • It provides a better user experience, as users land on the relevant page instead of the broken page.

How to do a 301 redirect?

Although there are many ways to perform a 301 redirect (such as editing the .htaccess file), using a plugin or tool is the easiest way to implement a 301 redirect.

Here are some popular plugins you can use;

Redirects: This is the most popular plugin used by over 2 million users for over 10 years.

If you want to create and manage redirects quickly and easily without requiring Apache or Nginx knowledge – install this plugin.

Once you’ve installed the plugin, go to the plugin settings, and you can add a new redirect by entering your source URL and target URL.

Here’s what it looks like;

Rank Math: Rank math is another popular option for creating redirects. If you are looking for an SEO plugin that helps you do many things including redirects, optimization, sitemaps, etc. – then install this plugin.

Here is Rank Math’s official video on setting up 301 or 302 redirects.

You can also read our Rank Math SEO Plugin review to find more details about this plugin.

Here are some of the posts we redirected (301 redirects) using the Rank Math plugin;

Note: After you’ve implemented your redirect, don’t forget to test it! Simply visit the old URL in your browser. If it seamlessly takes you to a new destination then you’re ready. But if you encounter any issues, revisit your redirect setup and make sure everything is in the right direction.

302 Redirect: When to Use & How?

Purpose: Use this when the original URL is temporarily unavailable.

When do I use a 302 redirect?

  • When a page is temporarily unavailable and you want people to go to another page.
  • When you’re running A/B testing and want to redirect users to different versions of a page.
  • When you’re migrating your website to a new domain.
  • When a page is temporarily unavailable due to maintenance.

Benefits of 302 Redirects:

  • People are temporarily redirected to the new page on your website.
  • Doesn’t affect the ranking of the original page.
  • You can easily change the destination of a 302 redirect without affecting the original page.
  • Prevents “404 Not Found” errors.
  • You can redirect your website users to seasonal content (such as Black Friday posts, time-based event pages, etc) without creating permanent links.
  • It can be used in situations where a 301 redirect is not ideal.

How to do a 302 redirect?

The process for implementing a 302 redirect is the same (same as 301).

If you’re comfortable with code, using a .htaccess file provides the most control.

If not, you can install the following plugins to do 302 redirects;

  • Rank Math
  • Redirection
  • 301 Redirects 

All these plugins help you create 301, 302, and 307 redirects. Whether you want to create permanent or temporary redirects, these plugins are helpful (and free).

If you’re using Cloudflare, here’s a quick way to do a 302 or 301 redirect;

Enter the URL pattern you want to 301 (or 302 redirect). Click the dropdown and select URL Forwarding.

Then, select your status code from the drop-down. Enter the destination and save it.

How can I test my redirects?

So, how can you verify whether the redirection was done properly?

You can directly visit the old URL in your browser and see if it redirects to the new URL.

Or you can also use a free online tool like Redirect-Checker.org to verify 301 and 302 redirects.

For example, we redirected one of our posts using Redirect-Checker.org (which is a free tool).

have a look;

As you can see above, the redirect is set up properly and everything is fine.

Similarly, whenever you perform a 301 or 302 redirect, make sure to verify whether the redirect is working properly using the above tools.

Best Practices: 301 and 302 Redirects

Here are some best practices for using 301 and 302 redirects.

  • Use descriptive URLs for your redirect pages. Include relevant keywords in the URL.
  • Regularly monitor your redirects for broken links. You can use tools like Broken Link Checker, Zenu’s Link Sleuth, etc. to check for broken links on your site.
  • Use a 301 redirect for any permanent page changes. If you want to avoid duplicate content issues or keyword cannibalization issues, use 301 redirects, as you can redirect multiple URLs to the same preferred version.
  • Use 302 redirects for temporary website (or page) changes such as maintenance downtime, A/B testing, website staging, holiday promotions such as Black Friday posts or whenever a page is temporarily unavailable.
  • Choose the correct redirect type (301 or 302) depending on whether the transfer is permanent or temporary.
  • Make sure you update any internal links pointing to the old location of the page.
  • Minimize redirect chains (for example, redirecting from A to B, then B to C) to prevent any Google penalties or technical issues. Also, long chains of redirects can slow down page load times and confuse search engines. Therefore, implement a direct redirect from the old URL to the new URL (whenever possible).
  • Use redirect plugins or tools (like 301 Redirects) to manage all redirects in one place.
  • It’s always better to keep track of all your 301 and 302 redirects for future reference and maintenance.

FAQs | 301 and 302 Redirects

Here are some frequently asked questions around 301 and 302 redirects in SEO.

How long can I use a 302 redirect?

This may take a few days to a week, as the 302 redirect is temporary.

What is the main difference between a 301 and 302 redirect?

Use a 301 redirect when you permanently move a page on your website. Use a 302 redirect when you temporarily want people to visit another page.

Should HTTP to HTTPS redirect be 301 or 302?

If you’ve moved pages from HTTP to a secure version of HTTPS, you should use 301 redirects, as they move your pages permanently.

What are 301 and 302 redirects?

Both are HTTP status codes that indicate that the URL has moved. 301 means permanent; 302 means temporary.

Can I chain redirects (301 to 302 or vice versa)?

Chaining redirects are not recommended, as they can slow down page loading times. Stick to one type of redirect per URL.

Will a 302 redirect hurt my SEO?

No, 302 redirects themselves will not harm your website’s SEO. However, if you use a 302 for a permanent redirect, you will not be sending link juice (i.e. ranking power) to the new page, which can negatively impact your SEO.

Final thoughts 

You need to learn how to effectively implement redirects on your website. Why? Because you may be changing your URLs, migrating to a new domain, or redirecting users to temporary landing pages for specific campaigns.

Once you know when to use 301 and 302 redirects correctly, you unlock a better way to manage your links. So, what are your thoughts on 301 vs 302 redirects? have any questions? Tell us in the comments.

My name is Megha, A computer science student with a passion for digital marketing and SEO, enjoys helping beginners build impressive WordPress websites.

Leave a Comment