SEO Basics: 301 and 302 Redirects Explained in Plain English

December 1, 2017 7:30 am  |   Published by

In our earlier posts, we talked about 404 errors and how it is a good idea to install redirects. In this edition of SEO Basics, we are going to go over the two most common types of redirects and how you can implement them.

What is a Redirect?

A redirect is a set of directions that live on a server that tells a browser where the old URL was and points it to the new location. This is particularly important for pages or files that have been renamed. An example of a redirect would be when www.domain.com/old-page needs to point to www.domain.com/new-page.

What is the difference between a 301 and 302 redirect?

The two most common redirects are the 301 and 302. There are other types of redirects but an explanation is not needed for the basics. If you want to know more than the basics you can find a list of all redirect responses here. They do exactly the same when it comes to sending users to the new pages or sections of the site. The major difference is what they communicate to the search engines.

301 Redirect

A 301 redirect tells the search engines that it is permanent. This type of redirect is intended to be used when the destination of the redirect is final and not expected to ever change. This is to help the search engines keep their indexes clean and the users served up the most relevant content.

302 Redirect

A 301 redirect tells the search engines that it is temporary. This redirect is only to be used when the final destination has the potential to change. It could be anything from redirecting a newly purchased domain to an already existing site or used until you can create the finished page for a new section of the site.

How to Install Redirects

The ease of setting up redirects on your website will be determined by what type of system you have. We have put together a list of links to help you learn how to set up redirects on your site.

In Conclusion

It is important to keep your site cleaned up and redirects put into place to keep the search engines happy. Doing so will help the pages and site rank better in the search results. Also, it will help provide your readers a better experience by not causing them to bounce and never come back.

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Adam Nutting

Adam Nutting is an avid hiker, adventurer, and Eagle Scout. He has over 10 years of web design, development, social media and digital marketing experience. He shares his adventures on his site HikingTheTrail.com and blogs about social media and blogging here on Epic Social.

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