Should New Sites Be Wary of Directories With 302 Redirects?

Mar 27, 2007 • 6:59 am | comments (5) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Web Directories

Update From Matt Cutts of Google:

It's definitely not related to the 302 on though.

See Matts full explanation below.

A Search Engine Watch Forums thread has a thread about a site that appears to be hijacked within the Google results. First let me show you what I mean by being hijacked within the Google results.

A search on the site url,, returns nothing from the site itself, but does return the directory

Google Hijack

This is what a hijack may look like. Where you search for your domain, but someone else takes over the result.

Moderator, Ian Mcanerin, explains:

Hotfrog appears to link to websites using a redirection script issuing a 302 redirect. For new/low ranking sites, this can result in what is called a "hijack".

This can happen because a 302 actually tells a search engine that the original site is HotFrog and that it has been temporarily moved to your URL. Accordingly, the search engine shows the "original" if it has enough link juice.

This won't happen once you have enough links to outrank the page that it's on, but right now, it can be a real issue. It's one of the very few times when someone else can harm your site.

So he warns new site owners to "NEVER submit to a directory that uses 302 redirects for click tracking."

More on 302 Hijacks: - Hijacking Google Results with 302 Redirects - Bait & Switch - Google Tackles the 302 Redirect Issue - Google Not Handling Redirects Correctly? - Removing a 302 Hijacked Page from the Google Index - and others, but some of these issues have been resolved.

Forum discussion at Search Engine Watch Forums.

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03/27/2007 02:58 pm

Yep.. Its pretty amazing.. I was doing a php redirect on a page and forgot that it default the header to a 302.. hmm... about a week later the linked redirect pages started to rank just above the linked sites.. Changed them to a 301.. And block with robots.txt <--- whiter than white me.. see

Matt Cutts

03/28/2007 06:49 pm

I looked into this and it's not a 302 hijack. Rather, the original site has very few links pointing to it. We don't 100% guarantee that we'll carry every page on the web, especially pages with zero or near-zero PageRank. In this case, just writing about the issue will probably solve it pretty soon (because a few more people are linking to the site), but we'll look at ways to help with low-PageRank sites in addition to this. It's definitely not related to the 302 on though.

Barry Schwartz

03/28/2007 07:00 pm

Thanks Matt - I will update this post.

Ian McAnerin

03/28/2007 11:24 pm

Thanks for checking, Matt. I was also contacted (politely and professionally, I might add) by Hotfrog with more information. Based on this I double checked and found that I was mistaken in this case - my apologies to Hotfrog! I still stand by my contention that directories should avoid 302 redirects (it's so simple to make it a 301!). On the plus side, I've now found a nice directory to do submissions to. Ian McAnerin

Howard Hoffmann

05/24/2008 06:36 pm

Hot Frog has had my listing from day one which always come up 'removed from data base'. Repeated emails to Hot Frog and to this day polite answers that go no where. Given a run around but never fixed. Something definitely wrong at Hot Frog Sure you looked close enough?? Howard Hoffmann

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