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    John Mueller - Google treats 302s like 301s when they believe a mistake has been made


    Found this tidbit posted on Threadwatch this morning, thought I'd share.

    The Threadwatch link above contains a link to the video hangout, timestamped for the question. So you can listen to that - or here's a transcript:

    Originally Posted by John Mueller
    (reading a question)I've noticed that our website has a 302 redirect from the .com to the .co.uk for a few months. Has this been passing link juice?

    (answering question)So I think there's a big misconception out there about 302s being bad for your website and being bad for your page rank, and your page rank disappears and you don't pass any value. And that's definitely not the case. When we recognize a redirect and we see it's a 302, we'll assume it's a temporary redirect at first and we'll assume that you want the initial URL indexed, not the redirection target. And in general...that's one thing that we try to do there.

    However when we recognize that it's actually more like a permanent redirect and the 302 is something that you maybe accidentally set up, then we do treat that as a 301. And we say, well, instead of indexing the redirecting URL we'll index the redirection target instead. So it's not a matter of passing page rank or not. Both of these redirects do pass page rank. It's just a matter of which of the URLs we actually show in search results. Is it the one that is redirecting - which would make sense if it's a temporary redirect - or is it the one that it's redirecting to - which would make sense if it's a permanent redirect. And we do look at the result, the HTTP code there, if it's a 301 or 302, but we also try to be smarter about that and try to fix any mistakes that the webmaster might have made there.
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    Really interesting, always thought this may be the case. I've been watching a site that has on every single page a canonical to the homepage, yet the whole site is slowly gaining rankings for all their pages. So I do believe Google takes into consideration potential accidents.
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    What I don't understand is how do they know that the temporary redirection is a mistake or not! if it is redirected for more than 00 days?
    I've been watching a site that has on every single page a canonical to the homepage, yet the whole site is slowly gaining rankings for all their pages. So I do believe Google takes into consideration potential accidents.

    Really interesting! However, I ask myself why search engines do not respect our instructions. What if it is not a mistake.
    It pleases to hear that search engines become smarter, but...

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