301 and 302 Redirects

What are 301 and 302 Redirects? 

When someone types in a web url or clicks a link, several things happen to get the content back to the browser. During that process, the server that stores the website will return a code to the browser. There are a number of codes that can be returned that say, everything is good (200), the page is missing (404), or the page has been moved. 

So when a page has been moved and the website owner did the right thing, your browser will get either a 301 or 302 code back. The difference is 301 status is for temporary changes to a url and 302 is permanent. 301 is like renting a condo in Florida for a few month in the winter, 302 means you have sold the house and are not coming back. 

These codes are important to avoiding the dreaded 404 page missing errors that visitors don’t want to see. Which is, yes we moved but we didn’t leave a forwarding address. 

Why does it matter? 

If a website owner wants to maintain good SEO and not leave a potential customer with a non-existent page, then setting forwarding options and the right status code is important. Besides customers, search engines that can't find a page will remove it from their index if an alternative has not been provided. 

Make sure and check with anyone managing your web content to be sure that you always leave a forwarding address and where you can, set the right page status code.