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

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

A 301 redirect is a PERMANENT redirect, meaning the page has permanently moved to a new location. It passes FULL link juice or ranking power.

A 302 redirect is a TEMPORARY redirect, which means the page is temporarily unavailable. It does NOT pass the link juice.

Want a simpler explanation with a real-world example? 

Imagine you’ve moved to a new house:

  • 301 redirect: This is like leaving a permanent sign at your old house saying, “Moved to [new address].” Everyone knows you’ll always be at the new house.
  • 302 redirect: This is like leaving a temporary note saying, “Away on vacation, back in [number of days].” Everyone knows you’ll be back at the old house soon.

Here’s a quick summary:

301 vs 302 explanation

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

Are you ready? Let’s jump into the details.


Table of Contents

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

301 vs 302 redirects

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 several ways to do a 301 redirect (such as editing the .htaccess file), using a plugin or tool is the easiest way to implement 301 redirects.

Here are some of the popular plugins you can use;

Redirection: 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 needing Apache or Nginx knowledge – install this plugin.

Once you install the plugin, go to the plugin settings, and you can add a new redirection by entering your source URL and target URL. 

Here’s what it looks like;

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

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

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

[embedded content]

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;

301 redirects rank math

Note: After implementing your redirect, don’t forget to test it! Simply visit the old URL in your browser. You’re ready if it seamlessly takes you to a new destination. But if you encounter a problem, revisit your redirect setup and ensure everything’s pointing 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 of implementing a 302 redirect is the same (as 301).

If you’re comfortable with the code, using the .htaccess file offers 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).

In case you’re using Cloudflare, here’s a quick way to do 302 or 301 redirects;

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

Then, select your Status Code from the drop-down. Enter the destination and save it.

Here’s what it looks like on Cloudflare;

302 redirect cloudflare

How can I test my redirects?

So, how can you verify if the redirection was done properly or not?

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

Or you can also use free online tools 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;

redirect tool

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

Similarly, whenever you do a 301 or 302 redirect, make sure to verify using the above tool whether the redirect is working fine.

Best Practices: 301 and 302 Redirects

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

  • Use descriptive URLs for your redirected pages. Include relevant keywords in the URLs.
  • Monitor your redirects regularly for broken links. You can use tools like Broken Link Checker, Xenu’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 a single preferred version.
  • Use a 302 redirect 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) based on whether the move is permanent or temporary.
  • Make sure you update any internal links that point to the old location of the page.
  • Minimize redirect chains (e.g., redirecting 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. So, implement a direct redirect from the old URL to the new one (whenever possible).
  • Use redirect plugins or tools (such as 301 redirects) to manage all the 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.

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 go to another page.

Should HTTP to HTTPS redirect be 301 or 302?

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

How long can I use a 302 redirect?

It can be a couple of days to weeks, as 302 redirect is temporary. 

What are 301 and 302 redirects?

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

Will a 302 redirect hurt my SEO?

No, a 302 redirect itself won’t hurt your website’s SEO. However, if you use 302s for permanent redirects, you won’t pass on link juice (i.e. ranking power) to the new page, which can negatively impact your SEO.

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.

Related SEO Resources:


Final thoughts 

You need to learn how to implement redirections within your website effectively. Why? Because you’ll be changing your URLs, migrating to new domains, or redirecting users to temporary landing pages for specific campaigns.

Once you know when to correctly use 301 and 302 redirects, you unlock a better way to manage your links.

So, what are your thoughts on 301 vs 302 redirects? Have any questions? Let us know in the comments. 

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