What is a 302 Redirect and When Should You Use It?

Staff Writer
Last Updated
June 28, 2024
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Surfing the internet has never been easier, but there will always be a few bumps in the road. For example, you could have clicked on a page or resource, only to find yourself redirected to a completely different page. If you’ve ever experienced this, then chances are that you’ve already encountered a 302 redirect.

What is a 302 Redirect?

A 302 redirect is an HTTP response that tells your browser or search engine that the page or resource you were trying to access has been temporarily moved. When sent as a response to a request, the user will be automatically redirected to the new location or link, which is often included when this status code is sent. 

In the context of SEO, it’s a very beneficial tool to use, as the original page will still be able to maintain its ranking and performance on search engine results pages, while still sending traffic to the new temporary location.

How Does a 302 Redirect Work?

When a user tries to access a certain page, a request is sent to the website’s servers. Should the request trigger a 302 status code, then this will be sent as a response to the user’s request, along with the new URL where the resource is temporarily located. Once this status code is received by the user’s browser, it will immediately redirect the user to the new location via the temporary link.

It’s important to note that a 302 redirect is only a temporary change of location, but it still allows users to access the specific page or resource, which is a much better alternative than rendering it completely unavailable.

When to Use a 302 Redirect?

There are a few instances where a 302 redirect may be useful for a website:

  • Website Maintenance: If you’re working on changing or improving certain pages of your website but still want them to be accessible to your audience, then it can be helpful to move these temporarily to another website with the help of a 302 redirect.
  • A/B Testing: If you’re looking to test whether a certain version of your page will perform better than the current version, then a 302 redirect can help you divide up the traffic between these two versions to see which ones they enjoy the most.
  • Temporary Pages: A 302 redirect can also come in handy if you’re running a temporary promotion or contest and want to bring users to these pages. For example, if you’re running a sale on specific products on your website, then you can use this status code to bring users to a page that displays all the discounted products when they click your promotional banner.
  • Geographical Location: For websites catering to a global audience, a 302 redirect can be helpful in redirecting users to specific versions of your website based on their location and language.

How Does a 302 Redirect Affect SEO?

With 302 redirects only being used for temporary location changes, it can actually have many benefits to your website’s SEO performance:

  • Maintaining SERP Ranking: When you implement a 302 redirect on a webpage, the original page still maintains its ranking on search engine results pages. This is because search engines like Google will still continue to show the original page on results pages rather than the new URL, allowing the original version to retain its keyword rankings and link value. Without implementing a 302 redirect, your page’s ranking could plummet, especially if the content and usability is compromised.
  • Improved User Experience: A 302 redirect allows users to still access certain pages and resources that would’ve otherwise been inaccessible by redirecting them to a temporary page. By allowing users to still explore the full functionality of your website, you’ll be able to improve their user experience, especially when compared to if the page were just completely unavailable.

However, if a 302 redirect is improperly used and is treated as a permanent redirect, then this may negatively affect your SEO performance as search engines like Google will start ranking the new link instead of the original link. This will mean that all the SEO metrics of the original site will be forfeited and that the new link will start from scratch.

The Takeaway

A 302 redirect is a very useful status code that can be used to temporarily bring users to a different page without sacrificing the SEO performance of the original location. There are various reasons why this may be a good choice for websites to implement, but it’s important that this is used properly, as failure to do so may result in negative SEO implications.

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