A 302 redirect is an HTTP status code indicating that the requested URL has been temporarily moved to a different location. The primary characteristic of a 302 redirect, as opposed to a 301 redirect, is its temporary nature.
When a server responds with a 302 status code, it will also provide a
Location header to tell the browser or user agent where the desired resource can be found for the time being.
Here are some key points about a 302 redirect:
- Temporary Move: As its name implies, a 302 redirect tells browsers and search engines that the move is temporary and the original URL may be used again in the future.
- SEO Implications: Since a 302 redirect indicates a temporary move, search engines typically won’t transfer the link equity (or “link juice”) from the original URL to the new one, as they would with a 301 redirect. This is because they expect the original URL to be in use again. However, if a 302 redirect remains in place for a long time, search engines might eventually treat it like a permanent redirect, but this behavior isn’t guaranteed.
- Use Cases: A 302 redirect might be used in situations like:
- A/B testing of a webpage to see which version performs better.
- Temporary relocation of a site or page due to maintenance.
- Promotional campaigns where a permanent redirection isn’t necessary.
- Potential Misuse: It’s not uncommon for webmasters to mistakenly use a 302 redirect when they actually mean to use a 301 redirect. This can cause SEO issues because search engines might be hesitant to index the new URL if they believe the redirection is only temporary.
- Other Temporary Redirects: While 302 is the most commonly recognized status code for temporary redirects, there’s also a status code 307 which represents a “Temporary Redirect” in HTTP/1.1. It’s more explicit about maintaining the original HTTP method (like POST or GET) when redirecting. However, 302 remains more widespread in usage.
When implementing redirects, it’s crucial to choose the appropriate type based on whether the redirection is permanent (301) or temporary (302) to ensure proper handling by browsers and search engines.