If you’ve spent time on the internet, an HTTP status code has likely occurred.
In simple terms, HTTP status codes are standard response codes that show the relationship between all of the things that are going on in the background as you move from website to website. Things like the user agent (i.e. your web browser), the server, the webpage you want to load, and any third party web applications you might be running.
Because of the complexity of how all of these elements interact, there are many possible HTTP status codes you may encounter.
HTTP status codes identify and diagnose the particular blocker preventing you from loading a resource and can give you information about the journey you took on the way to a page.
In this article, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about the HTTP 302 status code – jargon-free.
What is an HTTP 302?
The 302 status code is a redirect message that occurs when a resource or page that you are trying to load has been temporarily moved to another location. This is usually caused by the web server and does not affect the user experience as the redirection is automatic.
To start with, it is helpful to know that all HTTP messages with 3xx are redirect messages.
Suppose blog.hubspot.com no longer exists and the content is now permanently on blogging.hubspot.com. This would trigger a 301 status code indicating a permanent redirect from one location to another.
The 302 redirect, on the other hand, is only temporary. A good example of using a 302 status code is for location and language purposes.
For example, if you visit a clothing website based in the UK but are located in the US. A 302 redirect would send you to the US version of the website to ensure that the currency and other content is displayed correctly according to your location.
You can also use a 302 status code if:
- Redesign a page – You can send users to a temporary location while the other side is under construction.
- Conducting A / B tests – Would you like to test a new site and get feedback on its performance? You can do this with a 302 redirect without affecting your ranking.
- Do a doctorate – To direct traffic to a specific offer, you can set up a temporary redirect for a page that normally contains different content.
- A product is sold out – If a product is sold out or temporarily unavailable, you can redirect users to a related page until it becomes available again.
While this list is not exhaustive, there is one golden rule to keep in mind: Use a 302 redirect only if the change is temporary.
Additionally, a 302 status code occurs on the server side and should not be noticed by users if set up correctly. The web server hosting the 302 redirect will immediately show your browser (and search engines) the new location of the page and should send users there immediately.
How a 302 status code affects SEO
From an SEO perspective, it’s important to understand how a 302 status code can affect your ranking and when you should use it.
First, if a page’s location has changed and a redirect has not been set up, it can result in a 404 status error (i.e. your page cannot be found) and affect your ranking. After all, Google doesn’t want to send users to a page that goes nowhere.
One benefit of such a redirect is that you don’t have to sacrifice your ranking when you temporarily send users elsewhere.
For example, suppose you use it to redirect users from a sold out product page to a relevant product page. You don’t want the page of your unavailable product to drop in the ranking just because it is currently unavailable. A 302 status code allows you to maintain your ranking.
However, this also means that your temporary URL won’t get link juice as Google knows it won’t be available for long.
For comparison, a 301 code usually sends most of the link equity to your new URL. However, there may be some drop in ranking on your end due to the redirect.
How to Identify and Implement an HTTP 302 Error
If you want to see when you’ve encountered a 302 redirect (or any other type of redirect), consider using an application or Chrome extension (like this one, redirect path). This type of tool will show you right in your browser when you come across a redirect.
You can also view and implement the code from the backend by accessing your .htaccess file. To avoid access to this file, you can also install a redirect manager plugin or an SEO tool that includes a redirect manager (like Yoast SEO Premium).
Overall, you want to make sure you understand how redirect messages affect search engine optimization. A 302 status code can be a good strategy if you are making temporary changes to your website, such as changing the status of your website. B. Testing new website features and product promotion.
So, when discussing between different redirect messages, make sure the message you choose is in line with your long-term strategy.