The idea of a 302 redirect is something that will make the average person scratch their heads. In basic terms, a simple redirect allows for a site to be temporarily redirected to a new page. A search engine will take this command, forward the value of inbound links to the redirected position, but also anticipate that the original site will be active again so that the values can be restored to their “original position.” It is important to remember, however, that with a 302 redirect, the detour page is not going to accumulate any overall SEO value.
This means that when a 302 redirect is used incorrectly, it will hurt your SEO rankings. That’s why using these 302 redirect SEO tips will help.
1. Use it for testing purposes.
The 302 redirect is a great tool to use when a new page is being tested out. The new page won’t affect the page ranking or other stats that a domain has accumulated over time, but it will allow for people to access the new page so that feedback can be developed. Without the 302 in place, negative responses to a new design could dramatically harm the reputation a site has been able to build over time.
2. Put it in place to maintain value.
Search engines today are all about the amount of value that you’re able to produce for visitors. If you’ve got products that are seasonal or out of stock on your website, then offering a page to a visitor to purchase this product that is not available doesn’t make a lot of sense. Incorporating a 302 redirect will enhance the SEO value that your site has because it will take a visitor to a page that they can actually use instead of a dead product page.
3. Avoid the duplication.
Search engines see duplicate pages as a very bad thing. The inherent problem with the 302 redirect is that it holds a page in suspension because it’s anticipating the page to return one day. If you’re creating duplicate pages for your site to what can be found on the redirect page, then the search engines will compare your live pages to your suspended pages, see duplication, and then potentially penalize you. Avoid this by treating your 302 redirect page as a live page, even if you’ve got it temporarily redirected somewhere else.
4. Don’t even think about a meta refresh.
To get around the 302 redirect issue, some sites have decided to do a meta refresh because it would avoid duplication. There are two problems with this: it still counts as a temporary redirect, just like a 302, and it’s also considered a spam technique that will automatically get your site flagged. You can thank the spam sites out there in the world of the internet for problem #2.
5. Take your visitors somewhere interesting.
The essence of the 302 redirect is to protect a visitor from receiving a 404 not found page when trying to access information on your website. If you can redirect a user away from a dead page that needs to be temporarily suspended and place them onto a page that has similar content or items that have a similar value to them, then you’ll reduce the chances of losing a visitor and perhaps a lucrative sale in the process.
6. Don’t confuse the 301 and 302 redirects.
The 301 redirect will transfer all of your current site’s data to the redirected page. The 302 redirect will do no such thing. If you use the 302 instead of the 301, then you’ll strip the value away from your domain and essentially need to start over with your SEO work. On the other hand, the 301 is a permanent redirect that will not put an active page into suspension. They are not interchangeable in any way.
7. It is not a recommended approach.
Most link redirects may be intended as temporary, but a majority of them wind up being permanent. That’s why only a small niche of domains are ever going to use the 302 redirect and even then it’s for a short period of time. If it’s winter time, maybe swimming trunks aren’t a good product to try to sell, right? A 302 link to other swimming products or when the trunks will be available would be a better option. If you even suspect that a link may become permanent, the 301 redirect will always be a better option because it transfers all of the accumulated results while still redirecting one URL to another.
8. Google might see the 302 redirect as an unnatural link.
Google penalties are about the worst thing that someone can wake up to find on a site. There’s a great focus on the fact that low pagerank links and purchased back links can be seen as unnatural and invaluable, but the same could be said for 302 redirects as well. If you aren’t pointing someone on the 302 detour to something that has equal or greater value than what they were hoping to find, then there’s a good chance that Google is going to see this as an effort to spam someone and penalize you for it.
9. Just because something passes PageRank doesn’t mean it is good.
Here’s one of those SEO tips that don’t get mentioned very often: large scale efforts at article marketing, artificial link building, or creating pages just to do cross-linking will all penalize a site. Incorporating a 302 redirect is going to enhance the artificial look of a site to any crawler.
There’s just no getting around it. It’s like telling someone they can have prime rib, but then taking them somewhere to eat out of a trash can. The redirect itself doesn’t violate guidelines, so when it is used appropriately to direct people away from an invaluable page [an out of stock product] to a new valuable page [sorry that product is out of stock – may we recommend these alternatives?] then some SEO success can be found in these best practices. Otherwise there’s just pain in the offering of the 302.