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Registrar 302 redirects - hijack my own pages?

     
2:48 pm on Mar 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

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To save a bit of bother, I used a registrar's URL forwarding service to redirect some new domains of mine to pages on other existing sites of mine.

I see from the headers generated it's using a 302 redirect. What are the SEO implications for the forwarded domain, or the destination page, of that?

I understand 302 redirects were used at one point to hijack other site's rankings.

3:39 pm on Mar 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Google has struggled with handling a 302 redirect when it goes across domains. For many years, it used to be a nightmare. Now it's more under control, but...

Because "302" means "temporary", they sometimes index the address of the source page but with the content of the target page on a different domain. This creates a hijacking situation of the target domain in the search results. It makes sense on a same-domain 302 redirect,but not cross-domain.

Here's a thread about the 302 hijacking issue from Jan 2008, so the issue continues to show up:
Prominent site links to mine via a 302 redirect and takes over [webmasterworld.com].

In the above case, the hijacking site used and internal linking script with a 302 for the final step. Not apparently malicious, just technically clueless.

When the 302 redirect is within the same domain, it is a good handling of a temporary redirect, but not so much when the redirect goes to a new domain. Registrars and web hosts who use 302 by default are also part of the problem here.

It's also common on an IIS server to see what is called a "custom 404 page" but it's set up with a 302 from the bad url to the custom message. That also has made for big trouble in a same-domain 302 redirect, since very incorrect URL can end up indexed with the custom error page's content. Unfortunatley, many IIS manuals and training courses have even recommended this method.

So there are two kinds of 302 redirects, cross-domain and same-domain. And yes, historically they both have caused problems. It is still not wise to use 302 to handle unused domains in your domain portfolio. Use 301 permanent redirects only, or just park the secondary domains with no DNS set up at all.

5:11 pm on Mar 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

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"..they sometimes index the address of the source page but with the content of the target page on a different domain."

Well, I found a $5 p.m. webhost that I'll probably use to host these domains, but your remarks are interesting. If Google indexes the 302'd domain(s) as being the 'source' of the destination content, that could be useful.

An instance of where a hacker trick may benefit a working webmaster.

5:15 pm on Mar 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Well, it's not so useful if the original domain no longer ranks at all. I still say go with a 301 or nothing at all.
5:44 pm on Mar 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I was thinking of using it to redirect to (low ranking) individual pages; save on setting up new sites. Hi-jacking an entire domain of yours would be perverse.

Anyway, I'll probably just 301 'em.

7:51 pm on Mar 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I agree, Tedster, 301 or nothing. I learned my lesson on that a long time ago. I'm glad my registrar now let's me use 301 from them...saves me from putting on my server and making different accounts, etc.