301 Redirect Vs. 302 Redirect
Redirects are especially helpful when you have switched your website to another domain. However, what’s the difference between a 301 redirect and a 302 redirect? A 301 redirect means that the page has moved to a new location permanently, while a 302 redirect means that the move is only temporary. Either way, when a user enters the website name into their web browser, they are automatically forwarded to another site.
It’s important to use the right redirect, otherwise the search engine’s view of your website can get screwed up. You don’t want your website to be seen as duplicate content or for the search engine to index the wrong website because the search engines don’t recognize when you use a 301 or 302 redirect. For instance, if you move your store to a new location without telling anyone, then customers will keep going to your old location because they don’t know that you’ve moved. So when you use a 302 instead of a 301 redirect, the original URL remains in Google’s index and maintains its position as if the page was never moved. The good thing with redirects is that the users who visit your website will automatically be sent to your new web address.
A 301 redirect should be used if the redirect is valid and permanent. This alerts the search engines that the redirected URL should replace the old one. The search engine will know that they should transfer the search engine page ranking and other “value” to the new URL.
When should a 302 redirect be used? It should be used if the redirecting URL is to remain valid, but the content is just “temporarily” available at the new URL. This signals to search engines that the original URL is to stay in the index, but the content is currently at another URL. And, the search engines know that the redirection target should not be indexed. There are actually very few instances when a 302 redirect is warranted, but they are used more commonly by mistake.
If you decide to change your business or domain, make sure you use the right redirect!