Exploring and Understanding How 301 and 302 Redirects Are Utilized
A large number of web designers and webmasters just do not understand the difference between 301 and 302 redirects. This is because they look very much the same from your point of view. However, unlike a regular user, search engines see the different types of redirects and handle each of them in a different way. A 301 means that a page has been permanently moved to a new location; while a 302 means that it has been temporarily moved to a new location. From a SEO point of view, using these redirects properly is very important. Search engines need to know whether they need to keep your old page or if they can throw it out. Using the wrong redirect is going to confuse search engines and reduce the amount of search engine traffic your website acquires.
Why Does This Matter?
If you are moving your website to a new domain name, you want to make sure that your visitors and search engine traffic can still find your website. A redirect is going to automatically send your traffic from the old website to the new one. Most people just assume that search engines would respond to redirects the same way. Unfortunately, that is not the case. In fact, it can actually cause your website to lose its search engine ranking altogether for several months.
When is 302 Appropriate?
There really are not that many times where you are going to use 302 redirects. After all, how many times do webmasters temporarily move their website to a new location? Many webmasters and web designers make the mistake of using temporary redirects because the code it is a lot easier to implement.
While it may not seem like a big deal that you are using the wrong code because your traffic is still being redirected as it should, it is a huge deal. You are confusing the search engines. They assume that your website has just temporarily moved because of the code you decided to use. When you use the wrong code, search engines are going to continue to index your old URL. Do you really want search engines to continue to send all of your traffic to your old URL? That is exactly what is going to happen if you decide to use the temporary redirect because it is the easier option. The truth is that you really cannot afford to take the easy or lazy way out when it comes to SEO.