302 Redirects

What are 302 Redirects, what do they do and how do they impact SEO?

A 302 Redirect is known as a “temporary redirect” and that the web-page URL requested has moved to a new location.

The web is made up from websites interconnected to one another. URLs (Uniform Resource Locator) are effectively addresses for web pages. When a web page changes the URL it is allocated then best practice dictates that a redirect should be put in place. A 302 redirect is a server level instruction that tells the web browser that the page has moved temporarily to a new URL. The key difference between a 301 redirect and a 302 redirect is a 301 means the URL permanently moved whilst a 302 redirect means the URL has moved temporarily.

What is a 302 Redirect?

A 302 Temporary Redirect is a server level instruction to web browsers to visit a new temporary URL. In effect, when a page moves it’ll either be moved temporarily or permanently – a temporary redirect uses the 302 status code. Temporary redirects are usually used for content that has been temporarily moved during a website restructure. 

How does a 302 redirect work?

When a server returns a HTTP status code of 302 it is indicating to the requesting user-agent that the resource is no longer available at the specified URL location and that it has moved to a new temporary location. A 302 works when a server honoring the request has the instruction to provide a new temporary URL in place of the original “requested” URL – this is done using a location header.

How does a 302 Redirect Impact on SEO?

Typically, 302 redirects have been seen by most SEOs to be a negative factor for on site / technical SEO. Whilst 302 temporary redirects might not be ideal, their impact on organic performance is usually minimal given that Google is significantly faster at site recrawls.

Moving content to a temporary location can mean that the result is more likely to be inconsistent, so, for that reason, many SEOs advise against temporary redirects, opting instead for permanent redirection.

302 redirects won’t have a negative impact on a websites SEO profile as long as they are used in moderation and do not form part of a redirect chain. Regularly redirecting URLs with temporary redirects can cause some ranking fluctuations, so its advisable to only use 302 if you have to.

How does a 302 Redirect Impact on User Experience

302 redirects do not differ from 301 redirects when it comes to user experience. As long as the redirection works and does not lead the end user to a 404 then a temporary redirect should have no impact on user experience.

When should we use 302 redirects?

302 redirects should ONLY be used if the redirection is going to be temporary. If 302 redirects are likely to be in use for more than a month its advisable to use a 301 redirection instead.

You would typically look to use a 302 redirect when

  • Moving you are temporarily moving a page on a website to a new URL structure
  • When a page on a website is temporarily moved because the site architecture/navigation is changed
  • When a website domain has been temporarily changed
  • If a piece of content has temporarily moved to another location on your website