Google: 302's Don't Work In Reverse

Written By: Clint Butler
Edited By: Clint Butler
Published On: January 21, 2022 

by Clint ButlerDigitaleer

(SEO This Week) - Redirecting domains and URLs to other domains and URLs is a common practice in the SEO industry when moving websites, rebranding, or just trying to capture link juice abandoned by a previous website owner. The two HTTP status codes most often used are the 301 (permanently moved) and the 302 (temporarily moved), 301's being preferred.

Link builders and webmasters constantly wonder if the "link juice" flowing through a 302 is the same as it is for a 302 and Google representatives have said that they work the same in regards to link juice and that, eventually, if the 302 is in place long enough will be considered a 301.

But what about in reverse? What if you 302 a new URL to an old URL that has a lot of link power, will that link power be essentially assigned to the new URL because the URL was redirected?

This isn't a new concept. SEOs in the past have redirected new domains sitting there to so-called "authority sites" and building links to the new domain for a period of time. The thought behind that is if you do that it builds the authority of trust of the redirected domain and links are less likely to cause issues for the SEO down the road when the redirect is moved.

To this date, there hasn't been a published test examining this method to see if it actually does work. But Google's John Mueller has an opinion on it.

If tested proved that "reversing" the link juice through association with an authority site in a niched did, in fact, prove to work it would be a great method for affiliates who practice launch jacking on well-advertised products. It would also be good news for start-ups who are early in their build process since they could redirect their new domain to an existing in-market authority until their ready to launch their own website.

Though, testing could also prove that doing any of that could be a complete waste of time.

During a follow on question, John opined on if juice from one URL to another with a 302.

What John is saying here is that the 302 is working like a canonical URL in that case, thus passing the juice from the old page to the new URL. This is also a concept that lacks definitive testing.

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