A 3XX status code is returned when the destination URL re-directs to another URL automatically.
There are various types of re-directs, with each type used for different circumstances.
The most common re-directs are 301 & 302 re-directs.
A 301 re-direct is considered permanent & a 302 re-direct is considered temporary.
Other re-direct types include:
300 – Multiple Choices
303 See Other
304 Not Modified
305 Use Proxy
306 Switch Proxy
307 Temporary Re-Direct
308 Permanent Re-Direct
Why Use A 301 Vs. 302 Re-Directs For SEO & User Experience
As it says in their name, 301 re-directs are intended to be “permanent”, whereas 302 re-directs are temporary.
An example of when to use the 301 re-direct would be at a time where a product or service is no longer offered by your company, so the page for said service is removed.
In place of the old URL, a 301 re-direct would be put into place, directing users & link equity to be passed on to a new URL, typically the most relevant service, else to the prior page’s category page or homepage.
A 302 re-direct would be used if you sell seasonal products, such as sandals and the season changes.
You would implement a 302 re-direct in the sandal page URL place, re-directing users to the footwear category page where they would see that sandals are currently out of season, and the URL would be updated to be the live sandal page when the season returns.
301 Vs. 302 Re-Directs & SEO Rankings
In the past, 301 re-directs were the only ones that would pass along link-equity to their destination URLs.
This would make sense, given that the name of the 301 is a Permanent re-direct.
Since then, there have been talks that 302s are also considered for the link-equity that they pass along.
However, it is still advisable to use the re-directs as they were intended to be used, as to not cause any additional indexation troubles by sending bots conflicting signals.