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302- vs. 301-redirects for Domain Changes

January 17, 2007

Not quite 2 years ago, Scottie Claiborne wrote a brilliant article here in HRA on
how to switch to a new domain while avoiding the nasty effects of the aging
delay.  Scottie has had to change domains on numerous occasions for one
reason or another and has also worked with many clients who’ve needed to do
the same.  Her article was written from experience — not from what she read
elsewhere, or from hearing what anyone else might have thought.  She saw a
problem (how switching domains would cause a 9-month-or-so loss of rankings
and traffic) and she thought of a solution (using a temporary redirect [302]
instead of the traditional permanent redirect [301]).  She tested it over
and over again and found it helps maintain the rankings you’ve worked so
hard to get.

 

Yet 2 years later, regardless of how many times I mention it here or in the
forum, other SEO types still talk about using a 301-redirect when switching
to a new domain.  Have they tried it lately?  If so, they’d most likely find
that they lose rankings and traffic for their sites and those of their
clients.  Yet they continue to recommend it for some strange reason.  Yes, a
301-redirect *should* be the way to go when switching domain names.  And if
Google didn’t have an aging delay it would work as it should to transfer the
link popularity and PageRank of the old site to the new.  But there is still
an aging delay (although some say the time period is getting shorter), and
so Scottie is still recommending the 302-redirect as a workaround.

 

Obviously, the best solution is to not switch your domain names.  But
business and branding concerns often dictate this sort of thing.  If you
find yourself in this situation, please read Scottie’s original article
here
.  Also, check out the forum thread here.  Scottie’s
recently mentioned that she is still recommending the 302-redirect as a
temporary solution.  Be sure to switch it to a 301 once you’ve gained links
to the new domain and the aging delay time has passed.  Not doing so could
cause some duplicate-content issues somewhere down the road.

 
 
Post Comment

 i Blog Master said:
This is indeed a point to be noted down if anyone has to change their domain.
301 and 302 redirects are still controversial and they're gonna remain for a long time.
 Jill Whalen said:
Actually, since this article was written in 2007, things have changed a lot.

I would now recommend a 301 not a 302 for new domains as Google is finally transferring them over quickly and correctly. Nothing controversial about it.