The whole concept of redirect (301 vs 302 redirect SEO indeed) is to merging the SEO values of the old and new URLs.
The general consensus is that 301 redirect is best in terms of maintaining the page’s authority. However, extent ranking-factor research and testing have pointed out the potential of 302 redirect SEO. Now, let’s clear all the myths and check SEO redirect thoroughly with the ultimate guide to redirect: what, when, how and why.
Why a site needs redirects?
Redirects as in forwarding visitors and web crawlers to a different URL play an important role within SEO. Moreover, it’s a must to keep your UX point in such inconveniences as:
- Page or post get deleted
- Change the domain of the website
- The preferred URL change (www vs. no www)
- Consolidate websites
- CMS gets tweaked
- Web structure rework
How many types of redirect are there?
In general, there are 5 types of redirects within the website. You can see how they differ in the infographic below.
Of course, SEO-friendly-proof-URL-tree beforehand is recommended. However, changes in terms of URLs is inevitable.
Why 301 and 302 redirect is best for SEO?
Among these 5 common redirects presented below, 301 vs 302 redirect SEO potential is often discussed in depth. And for different reasons.
Why it’s obvious that a permanent change due to 301 leads to every party: visitors, web crawlers and content relocate to the new URL.
Therefore, all page’s authority also relocates. This will surely pass the SEO values from the old URL to the new one. Now you have the combined force of old and new URL’s page rank.
However, 302 redirect is far more complicated in determining SEO merits. In fact, it mostly uses in testing SEO parameters.
While Google claims that 302 redirect SEO can pass full page rank, SEO-ers conduct their own research and the result is interesting. It’s true to certain degrees. Let me explain.
Indeed, Google treats 302 as “soft 301” and after 6 months they will treat these two redirects the same. Before that, the old URL is still in the index and gets the traffics on its own.
That’s why you need to carefully use 301 and 302 redirects. Each has its own time and place. And we’re gonna talk about that later on.
What about 307 and 308 redirects?
For the most part, 307 and 308’s SEO value is surrounded in mystery. Many veteran SEO-ers have tried over and over only to find these two have little to no merits when it comes to maintaining your ranking.
It’s not wise to upset the wookie that is your customer but it’s the same with the web crawler bots. It’s best to not get them confused about your command on indexing your page for ranking.
301 vs 302 redirect SEO: time and place
Now let break down the time and place to make your redirect of choice wisely. And it’s interesting, to say the least.
As can be seen, 301 also step into the spotlight of every occasion when you need a redirection. It’s good to move content around or even change your whole domain. Imagine you move your entire house, you want to inform people thoroughly about your changes.
Meanwhile, 302 redirect SEO can be found in testing and targeting. This is when you want to localize or internationalize your content can see the SEO result accordingly.
That also means you can put 302 on events, promotions, special sales. That’s how you work a temporary campaign on your site.
It also noteworthy that in some cases, using both of them is totally acceptable. For example, to do maintenance on your webpage (not that common), or redirect a not found page.
And that’s the very basic step you should do before considering a redirect for your website.
How to generate 301 and 302 redirect?
There are three ways you can do it: by code or by default or by extension.
You can implement a redirect by directly messing with the coding of your website. Based on the language your site is written on, the command differs. And mostly, no one does it.
This redirect is the default of many SEO extension. Yoast SEO Magento 2 for example, and it’s free.
The second route you can go is manually redirecting in the backend. Every hosting page has the ability to create a redirect at a wimp for any page on the site. Now that you understand the concept of 301 and 302, you can make it how you like it.
And last but not least, you can also put your money on extensions. There are a lot of well-thought extensions out there for every platform that exists. Find one (or several of them) that fit your narrative, easy to maneuver, come with great support and of course, wallet-friendly.
Redirect best practice for SEO success
If you can, avoid it
Yeah, we’ve talked about SEO values within best practices tier, page’s authority, relevancy when it came to moving content around your webpage. But honestly, 301 vs 302 SEO redirect is hardly SEO-friendly.
First, the best content must be evergreen. You want to make it solid to sit through erosion as well as earthquake that happens in the market.
And yes, it’s absolutely needed a reality check now and then to update your content, but if you do it right, you can save so much resource into that effort down the line.
Second, and it’s more important. Redirects amp up your time-loading of both readers and web crawlers. Therefore, even though you can argue 301 passes SEO values, it still takes time to relocate everyone then settle down then thrive again.
Relevancy is the key
Regardless of the previous, redirect is still a must-do on your web maintenance check-list. You just need to make it count, and the 1st step: redirect to the URL that the most relevant to your intended broken or changed content.
The two famously-ill destinations for a redirect are the homepage and any other page you want to increase SEO values.
As for redirect to the homepage, you just basically erase every relevancy and authority the previous URL has.
And for the irrelevant page, it’s a new soft 404 for you. Look it from the visitor point of view, the content is utterly useless to them and they will click back to the SERP. Follow through, Google will deem your content as not useful and therefore, your ranking will go down.
That’s why you need to redirect with a keen eye on the relevancy of the content.
Avoid looping and chain-reaction
This is when your redirect incites a whole bunch of other redirects. Once it takes more than 4 redirects after clicking to a URL, Google will stop to prevent looping redirect. And also, it is harmful to your page’s authority, because of all the passing steps in between.
And also, if it goes around in a circle, there is no help in that redirection.
Check the SEO of your redirect
There are several points to be made here and it’s best to present them in a check-list. Follow with this one:
- www.seo.com and seo.com are different domains in Google’s bots eye. Therefore, choose wisely.
- HTTPs or HTTP
- Stick to lowkey
- Seasonal campaign – 302 redirect
- Permanent campaign – 301 redirect
- Tidy up your redirect in volume and in width (save tons of traffics lost and make it SEO-friendly!)
Alternative SEO treatment to redirection
Rather than doing a redirect, you can make several changing actions that still preserve your SEO values.
It’s better this way. For both your content and your SEO. Just like solving a puzzle, turn every way possible before going after a new piece.
If you have an already established link with good traffic flowing into, you just need to update the content to par without engaging in meta redirect SEO.
And as if your site doesn’t get as much of SEO attention as you wanted, you can always do a content-check to find out why it’s not working in your favor. The only thing left to do is rewrite your piece of content.
Create a good web structure from the start
Most of the cases, a redirect is used to fix the holes in web structure designing, both Marco and Micro scope.
Therefore, right at the get-go, keep your URL sweet and short is a must. And also, create a URL tree that is easy to follow, to navigate and to index.
It’s a way to work around without redirecting a piece of content. This is not shown to the users and keep on the down-low.
As you know, every site you create automatically generates a URL. And it’s usually not pretty. If you want a URL to count and to rank, you need to make it favorable to the search engine bots.
That’s why URL rewrites come in handy.
Therefore, you can hide your messy URL with an SEO-friendly one, without any hustle regarding redirect status.
Today, on BSS Commerce’s episode of redirect, we’ve talked about several changing the landing webpage in their entirety. When it comes to redirecting, it’s best to stick to an SEO strategy to consolidate and preserve the precious ranking values.
In general, you want to stay off the redirect aspect to save your crawl budget and loading time. There are also SEO treatments to fix the similar problems without using 301 or 302 redirects.