Q: 301 and 302 the most commonly used redirects. Please tell how to use them in the right way and what influence will these have on the SEO.
A: It is true that improper use of redirects can hugely impact the search engine optimization part of the website. The working of a redirect may look simple but it could be the main reason for poor SEO performance of the site. A redirect is a process where your website sends the visitor or search engine crawler or bot to a different URL. However, you need to choose which redirect to use carefully, depending upon the purpose.
301 and 302 are the most commonly used redirects. While 301 redirect will move your website URL permanently, 302 is used for a temporary move. These HTTP status codes will be used to display an alternative web page where you want to redirect the site visitor.
Let’s know more about each redirect:
If you want to retain your SEO ranking and authority from the old webpages to the new ones, use 301 redirect. It will inform the search engine that old page has been moved to a new URL. Thus, the new web page will be indexed by the search engine and you can change the directive if you want to do some updates on the website. With a permanent redirect, all your web pages, traffic value, page authority, and page rank will be permanently redirected to the new website URL.
The temporary redirect will tell crawlers to continue indexing the old page. This may have a significant impact on the SEO as the search engine will continue ranking your old website, you have completely abandoned. One drawback is that while you can optimize your new page URL, you cannot perform a full blown optimization on the web page as this will increase the chances of content duplicacy in the old & new pages. If you have plans to take your visitors to the old web page after some time, 302 temporary redirect is useful. The traffic value, page authority, and page rank will not be passed from the old to new pages.
Why Opt for a Redirect?
There must be a solid reason to use a redirect. Some of the instances when you should be using one are:
URL of the website is broken or not working
The website needs to be redirected to a new domain
A particular webpage or website is no more active
A/B testing was performed on a specific web page
Website needs a design change
Website’s CMS platform is changed for a new URL structure
Two existing websites are being merged into one
The biggest benefit is, while you are updating the CMS platform, changing the web design, or deleting a web page from website, 301 or 302 redirect will let your visitors view the new website URL. Moreover, it can save your valuable SEO authority as well as the current website ranking, despite the changes that you have made.
Monitoring the Impact of Redirect
Since, 301 and 302 redirects can impact the search engine ranking of the website, you should closely watch the performance after implementing them. Tools like SE Ranking can help you in determining the impact of the redirection on the search engine.
The author is a first generation entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of India’s most award winning SEO Agency, PageTraffic. He also works as an advisor and consultant with many large companies. He helps value-conscious businesses build site traffic increase the user base, and boost web sales and bolster customer satisfaction. He can be reached @navneetkaushal on Twitter