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302 vs. 301 redirect: Why you need to use a 301

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So whats is in a redirect? Does it matter if it is a 302 redirect or a 301 redirect? Yes! Very much so. A 301 redirect informs Google that you are permanently moving a page to this new destination whereas a 302 redirect lets Google know this is only temporary. There is a time for a 302 and a time for a 301. If you are migrating a website across to a new one, say a .com to a .co.uk, you must use a 301 redirect.


Here is an example of what can happen if you do not setup your redirects correctly. The screenshot below shows domain A (the red line), with lots of authority, being 302 redirected to domain B: (This is ranking data for Google.co.uk)

A graph showing that a organisation loses its positioning within Google due to the wrong redirect being setup

The company will obviously remain nameless, but this is a glorious example of an IT department, probably not realising the impact of the change they’re making. This is an example for only one keyword, imaging the traffic they have lost across the board!? So, have you ever had to work with a client on this type of solution? How bad was the traffic drop? And did you see an immediate impact once the 301 redirect was implemented? Your comments, as always, are welcome below.

4 Responses to 302 vs. 301 redirect: Why you need to use a 301

  1. Andrea Moro says:

    Well mate, as you can imagine, with over a decade of experience on my back I can write a book on errors made from IT depts that created mistakes everywhere, including the one you just mentioned.

    The real problem is dev team is unaware at all of all the implications a little change can do. It’s our job educating them in the best way ever.
    If they ignore our recommendation, well game over. But that’s their game to come to an end.

  2. Just curious, apparently the Guardian is using a 302 for their move to their new .com domain. Why would they do so? A “geo redirect was mentioned”?

  3. seotrench says:

    Youri – thanks for the comment. I’ve only just checked your comment now, so apologies if you already know this (considering they may have modified the redirects from a 302 to a 301) but it appears that the .co.uk content is now 301 redirecting to an equivalent.

    http://www.guardian.com is 302 redirecting to /us. Google do recommend to use a temporary redirect here, but I’m unsure as to why it is to a US subfolder. They should be implementing the a rel=”alternate” solution as well. Lets watch this space.

  4. Youri says:

    Never mind, I just stumbled upon my comment and was curious whether there was a response. I’m still not sure why the 302 was appropriate in this particular case.

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