What is a 302 Redirect and When to Use It?

The term “302 redirect” refers to something called an HTTP Response Status Code. There are a number of codes that tell the browser how to handle a request for a webpage. 

One of these responses is a redirection response which is what we’ll be talking about in this guide. 

A 302 redirect or 302 temporary redirect is a status code that redirects visitors from one URL to another. The keyword here is “temporary.” 

The purpose of a 302 redirect is to inform both the user’s browser and search engines that the redirection is temporary. This means that the original URL is still valid and will be restored at some point in the future.

In this guide, I want to break down the details of a 302 redirect to help you understand why, how, and when you’d want to use this for your site. 

3 Reasons to Use a 302 Redirect

Now that we understand what a 302 redirect is, let’s talk about some reasons why you would want to use this for your website. 

1. It’s Easier Than a 301 Redirect

A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect while a 302 is a temporary redirect. With a 302, you can quickly and easily redirect visitors from one URL to another without having to make extensive changes to your site’s structure. 

This flexibility makes it easy if you’re making temporary changes to your site and would like to redirect visitors while these changes are underway. 

2. 302 Redirects are SEO-Friendly

While 301s have their place, 302s are much better for SEO purposes because they keep the original page authority intact. This is critically important if you have any intention of using the original URL again. 

Keep in mind that there are no guarantees in the world of SEO and even though the 302 tells the search engine that the change is only temporary, it could still have an impact on your authority if you let it go for too long. 

404 error page

3. 302s Improve User Experience

In many cases, the reasons why site owners use a 302 redirect is to improve something on their website. There’s nothing more frustrating than clicking a link and not finding what you expect; or even worse, a 404 error

Using a redirect ensures that the user and search engine always finds what it’s looking for while you’re redesigning or making changes to the original page. 

When to Use a 302 Redirect? 

The main difference between the 301 and 302 redirect is the permanency of the change. That being said, there are situations where you’d want to do a 302 and situations where you’d do a 301. Let’s discuss them. 

You’re Updating a Specific Page

Let’s say that you are updating some tables with newer data on a webpage and it will take you a while to compile the data. If that page gets a lot of traffic and the data is very time-sensitive, you might not want to send the traffic to the page since the information is outdated and you’re in the process of changing it. 

In this case, it may only take you a week or two to update the page, in the meantime, you can use a 302 redirect to send visitors to another page that elaborates on this or explains that the information is outdated but provides it anyway and tells readers that you’re working on a new page. 

You’re A/B Testing

A/B testing is crucial no matter what business you’re in and it involves the process of testing two similar pages against each other to see which converts better. You may only want to change something small like a CTA button but using a 302 redirect can temporarily send traffic to a secondary page to see if that converts better. 

If it doesn’t convert, you’re lucky because you didn’t destroy the original page and you can just stop redirecting the traffic and try something else later on. 

You Want to Temporarily Divert Traffic 

A 302 redirect is great if you’re running a time-sensitive promotion or limited-time event and you want to redirect traffic for it. Once the event or promotion is over, you can remove the redirect and revert to the original page.

The best part about it is that you can do this without hurting the authority and traffic of the page you’ve already built. That’s the glory of the 302 temporary redirect. 

You Have a Broken Page and Need to Divert Traffic

If you’re having a technical issue or a page is down due to maintenance, you can use a temporary 302 redirect to minimize the negative impact of the broken page. This is especially useful in Shopify ecommerce where a matter of minutes can result in sales lost. 

By temporarily redirecting traffic to a relevant page, you can minimize user frustration and ensure they can still find the information they need while the broken page is being fixed.

Also, remember that you can use Link Whisper to find broken links on your website to prevent this from happening! 

301 vs 302 Redirect

Both a 301 and 302 redirect have their purpose, it’s important to understand the differences so you don’t make a mistake. A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect. This tells Google that you are permanently sending traffic to this new URL and that the old page is no longer available. 

You might be saying, if a 301 has a negative SEO impact, why not just use a 302 forever? 

Since the 302 is intended to be temporary, it can actually have a more severe impact if you use it indefinitely. Search engines may interpret a long-term 302 redirect as a permanent move, which can result in the loss of SEO value and rankings for the original URL. 

Additionally, users may become confused or frustrated if they encounter a temporary redirect that persists indefinitely.

If you’re planning a permanent move and you want to divert your traffic, using a 301 redirect is the way to go. Take your lumps, understand the risks, and go for it if you have a solid reason for moving sites. 

Final Thoughts

Website redirects can be confusing but a 302 redirect is one of the simpler options. It’s a temporary redirect that allows you to work on the existing URL while preserving the SEO value and authority of the page. 

This type of redirect is easy to implement and can actually enhance user experience by directing visitors away from the broken page and towards the relevant content they came for. Remember to choose the right redirect based on the permanency of your changes. This will help you maintain your rankings and ensure long-term success for your website! 

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