SEO Facts, Figures and Landscape in 2018

SEO Facts, Figures and Landscape in 2018

SEO continues to grow and get more sophisticated by the month, let alone year-in-year-out. Shifts in the industry, such as mobile device focus and voice search continue to change the landscape when compared to previous years and we can only expect those changes to impact more and more in the coming months.

Digital Assistants & Voice Search

The increased popularity of voice search and digital assistants in the past couple of years has entirely changes the way people are searching online. A study carried out by Statista shows that the number of people who are using digital assistants to conduct search is projected to increase from 504 million in 2018 to 1.8 billion by 2021. According to Google, 1 out of 5 searches are a performed as voice queries already!

In order to adapt to this change in the way people search, SEO agencies like ourselves have to research and understand how voice search differs to traditional text queries – natural language, for example, may come into play in voice as opposed to how people use text search. You wouldn’t necessarily ask someone a question in person the same way you look for information on Google, would you?

Voice Search Statistics & Predictions

  • 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020, per comScore. (Is it even a post about voice search if you don’t lead with this stat??)
  • About 30% of all searches will be done without a screen by 2020, per Gartner.
  •  13% of all households in the United States owned a smart speaker in 2017, per OC&C Strategy Consultants. That number is predicted to rise to 55% by 2022.

SERP Features

Google continues to introduce and roll out new features to its organic SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) in a bid to enhance its user experience. From new rich snippets, knowledge panels and improved business listings, there are more and more opportunities to grab the attention of a searcher. But with those new opportunities also comes a new learning curve for each. Whilst it’s impossible to guarantee yourself a rich snippet, there are ways to optimise accordingly for answering specific queries and therefore give yourself the best chance of landing a ‘position zero’ feature.

According to a test carried out by Stone Temple Consulting, almost 30% of their test search queries yielded featured snippets. We can only expect to see this increase as more and more content creators tailor their experience for answering those most-asked questions. It’s important to keep an eye on what snippets are “up for grabs” as well as who of your competitors may be leapfrogging you in the organic results and snagging one for themselves.

Mobile First Index

Possibly one of the most impactful changes to the SEO landscape, the mobile first index finally addresses what we’ve all known for quite a while – more and more people are using their mobile devices to perform everyday tasks (such as Google searches) than desktop. It makes sense, really; just take a look around and you’ll see just how many people are glued to their phones at any given time. The Mobile First Index will now take your mobile site performance into consideration when dishing out those lucrative ranks, bringing new technologies such as Google’s AMP (accelerated mobile pages) right into the forefront of all SEOs’ minds.

“Link-less” Backlinks

We’ve all had back-links on our minds ever since Google created PageRank all the way back in 1996, and for the most part their fundamental operation hasn’t changed. Until now. Whilst you’ll still get the most effective results from high-quality backlinks, focus has also shifted to brand mentions as an off-page signal of almost equal weight. Search engines such as Google and Bing have evolved to now recognise and associate brands and products with mentions and use those as ranking signals to determine authority and quality.

How many of the above have you already included in your 2018 strategy? As the end of the year quickly approaches, it’s not too late to introduce some of these factors into your campaign and set yourself up for a successful New Year.

SEO & How It Affects Your Bottom Line

SEO & How It Affects Your Bottom Line

It’s not entirely implausible to run a business without having a search engine optimisation strategy in place. However, completely ignoring SEO in 2018 will certainly have an effect on sales, revenue and growing your customer base. You may have already heard the most common objections when it comes to SEO: it takes too long to bear any fruit, it’s an unpredictable form of marketing and Pay Per Click is better. However these are quite the misconceptions! Anyone who is really familiar with SEO knows that it is highly measurable and that it can produce far better value for money than the likes of PPC and social media advertising.

To put it simply, a quality SEO strategy will attract qualified traffic to your site, and more qualified traffic makes for more enquiries and more sales. Putting good content in front of your customers that meets their requirements increases conversion rate. So entirely ignoring SEO as a business will result in missing out on that part of the market. It’s really not rocket science, but lets take a look in a little bit more detail at how dismissing SEO could affect your business revenue…

Pure PPC and no SEO

It’s an age old debate in the online marketing world, but it’s one that is difficult to settle definitively. There are just too many variables in place, and the two forms of advertising are often completely different in their goals.

For example, a website that using organic SEO may be targeting keywords for searchers at different stages of the sales funnel, such as providing educational material or product information. More often than not, a PPC ad will lead users directly to a sales page. Typically, Pay-Per-Click casts a very narrow net, mainly targeting those who are ultimately about to make a purchase. Organic SEO, on the other hand, attempts to broaden the target audience, by way of semantic keywords and phrases, to capture potential customers who may be at the very beginning of their buying process, to those who are at the end.

Whilst we’re talking keywords…

Grab a FREE keyword report. Simply fill out our quick tool below to get your free keyword list relevant to your website & industry as well as the monthly search volumes for each to give you an idea of how big of a piece of pie you could be missing out on. Handy stuff!

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Being Unprepared for Google Algorithm Updates

In August of 2018 Google updated its core algorithm. The “Medic” update, as it was called, had a huge impact on traffic for websites particularly in the health and wellness industry. Many businesses claimed that the algorithm change had gone as far as to completely ruin their online business.

Trying to foresee Google algorithm changes and how that is going to affect your rankings is near impossible. However, keeping to SEO best practices and being aware of Google updates in general will certainly mitigate any risk as opposed to not paying any attention whatsoever. Using the Medic update as an example, the majority of websites that were hit the worst were those that were lacking authority, trust and quality content. As part of a good SEO strategy, focus is places on building quality content and building an authoritative, trustworthy source of information, all of which tend to please Google’s algorithms.

Poor Re-Designs and Website Changes

Even in 2018, many businesses opt to appoint a web design agency with very little SEO knowledge to resign their websites. Should SEO Experts Be Involved In Your Website Planning? Absolutely! Unfortunately, what may look pretty, doesn’t often keep Google happy without some serious input from a search engine optimisation specialist. Completely redesigning your website without taking SEO into consideration is just asking to drop from the SERPs, resulting in a loss of online income streams!

Trust and Credibility

There’s no doubt that there is a correlation between organic traffic and online sales, but if you ignore SEO you’re also missing out on a heap of other benefits that come with it. It is quite well known that PPC ads have somewhat of a stigma surrounding them, in that people place more trust and confidence in an organic listing than that of a paid ad. By dominating Google’s search results pages for search phrases relevant to your industry, you are portraying your business as an authority and an expert in the field.

However, if you give SEO a pass and your website hardly appears in organic listings, it may give off a bad impression to potential customers, whether online or not.

To Summarise

Running a business without search engine optimisation is possible, and some business may even be successful with this strategy. However, by ignoring SEO completely, you’re not only restricting the level of income you can generate, but you’re affecting your PR and credibility and leaving the online marketplace open for your competitors to take advantage of. A solid SEO plan will not only mitigate the loss of sales, but raise your digital profile and give your business the best possible chance of being as successful as it can be!

Are you ready to improve that bottom line? Get in touch with us today.

Improving Your Internal Links & Click Depth

Improving Your Internal Links & Click Depth

Internal links are often overlooked in favour of high quality backlink opportunities. However, the links within your website are some of the most important aspects of a site’s architecture, how it is viewed by Google and therefore ultimately has an effect on its search positions. Internal links not only give your website structure, but they show how content and pages are related and transfer equity between important pages similar to that of incoming links. Internal link structure also plays a big part in user experience, by giving visitors a logical way to navigate your website and find information related to their intent. Having a good link building strategy that takes internal hierarchy and page depth into consideration will increase conversions and other good metrics including time-on-page and time-on-site. First things first – lets take a look at the basics of internal link building and the mechanics behind it:

  • The more internal links pointing to a page, the more value it has in Google’s eyes. Similar to how backlinks indicate a high value source of information, internal links give Google a good idea of how important a page is in regard to the other content on your website.
  • The importance of internal links are so obvious that Google now considers that 1,000 links per page is perfectly reasonable. This does, of course, include all links in the header, footer, sidebar and menus.
  • You can help new pages get crawled by linking to and from fresh content

This brings us onto the next step – page depth.  Lets take a look at how you can optimise your  internal linking structure whilst also improving the overall organic SEO of your website by way of optimising crawl depth.

Get a FREE Backlink Analysis

Whilst we’re talking about links; how well do you know your backlink profile? Simply fill out our quick tool below to get your free report that analyses your current backlink profile and advises of any toxic backlinks you may have pointing to your domain!

Reducing Click Depth to Boost Rankings

Click depth – the amount of clicks it takes to get to a required page when starting from the homepage – matters in SEO. Pages that are ‘closer’ to the homepage are seen as more prominent and therefore receive more positive attention from Google. That’s great news for websites that have pages buried deep that aren’t getting anywhere on the search results, as it’s a relatively quick and easy gain:

  • Increase the number of ‘similar pages’, ‘if you like this you may be interested in…’ and ‘recommended pages / products’ on a given page. This not only boosts internal link structure, but may also help bring some of those deeper pages to a much more shallow level.
  • Increase the number of high-level categories listed on the homepage, bringing items within those categories closer to the homepage.
  • Cut down on pagination by increasing the number of items per page but also by the above point. Increasing the number of categories will decrease the number of items per category.

By putting the above points into place, not only are many pages reduced in terms of click depth, but generally the website will be crawled far quicker by Google and therefore indexed much more efficiently. This strategy is often very effective for eCommerce websites, where masses of products and categories can make your website bloated and difficult to crawl. By segmenting products and categories into logical, digestible ‘chunks’, pages will be crawled more efficiently, user experience is improved and you can reap the rewards of a better internal link hierarchy. To put it simply, internal linking and click depth should be taken into consideration in any good organic Search Engine Optimisation campaign.

3 Ideas for Boosting Your SEO Using Links

3 Ideas for Boosting Your SEO Using Links

It is often overlooked, but it’s without a doubt that links are an integral part of Google’s search algorithm. If two sites have equally strong content, the website that doesn’t have any backlinks will never compete successfully against a site that does.

Contextual links are the strongest you can acquire, but they are also the most difficult. These are links that are in the body text and usually surrounded by good content. Links that are positioned in footers or sidebars are generally less potent. Here are 3 tips to acquiring good quality, contextual links:

  1. Content Curators

Content curators scour search engines and social media to find useful content and by connecting with them and offer them quality content, you have a good chance of creating a contextual link embedded in good content. A smart google search relevant to your topic will likely net you a variety of curation websites to visit, where you can contact the authors to build a relationship, offer them constructive advice or point them in the direction of interesting articles they may want to use and potentially receive a link in return.

  1. Infographics

An infographic is a quality and useful resource to share with other websites, blogs and curators that are relevant to your industry. It’s not as easy as it sounds, and 90% of the battle will be creating an appealing infographic and promoting it in the correct way.

  1. Interviews

If you find it difficult to create unique content from scratch, there is certainly no shame in utilising the knowledge of others. Offering expert interviews can be a very powerful way of acquiring good quality links, as interviews are some of the most popular content on the web. Don’t be afraid to reach out to industry experts and ask their thoughts on a particular topic. Once you have created content to surround your interview, more often than not, the expert will likely link to your content from their blogs or websites.

In summary, link building is a powerful way to boost your organic SEO, but it can take a lot of time and effort to generate the quality links that Google respects and acknowledges. Remember, its quality over quantity when it comes to links, and more importantly contextual links within relevant content will always be the most valuable.

 

Mobile First Index, a Refresher

Mobile First Index, a Refresher

The new Mobile First Index continues to roll out and it’s a hot topic in the SEO industry. We’ve talked about it in the past, but now it’s time for a refresher to ensure you’re completely on board for this new Google experience.

In March of 2018, Google rolled out a new mobile first index.

But what does that mean? Well, going forward, Google will rank your website based on the mobile version rather than thee desktop version.

Historically, Google’s indexing and ranking system have always used the desktop version to rank your site, but now since the majority of users are using their mobile devices for browsing the web and making searches, Google will look at the mobile version of your site and use that in search results in order to offer a better mobile experience to its customers.

Each website is now evaluated individually and ranked based on how mobile-friendly it is (among many other factors of course).

If your website doesn’t have a mobile version, you don’t need to particularly worry about the mobile first index. Google will just use the desktop version to rank your site. But you should really consider making your website mobile friendly, as user experience is what Google takes into account most.

Google has previously said that content that’s not deemed mobile-friendly will not rank as well. That still remains the case with the new Mobile First index.

Google have also said, “If you only have a desktop site, we’ll continue to index your desktop site just fine, even if we’re using a mobile user agent to view your site.”

If you have a responsive website, which means one that changes and scales the content accordingly depending on the type and size of device that’s being used, you are certainly heading in the right direction.

However Google has said that it will look at the mobile version of your site even if it has less content than the desktop version. If your mobile version has less content on page A than the desktop version of page A, then Google will probably just see the mobile version with less content.

If your content is the same across devices, there are no guarantees your rankings will remain steady, too. Research has found that 79 percent of keywords return different results across mobile and desktop, which points to the fact that users expect different content depending on their context.

(Also If you’re a Soar client, there’s nothing you need to do because we always use responsive design on our websites!).

As always, keep in mind that Google uses many factors to rank your site, but the mobile-first index shouldn’t be overlooked. Google will send a notification via your Search Console when your site has been switched over to the mobile-first index, so it’s best to keep an eye on this if you want to maintain and grow visibility when it inevitably does arrive for your site.

8 SEO Trends Heating Up In 2018

8 SEO Trends Heating Up In 2018

We already wrote about some SEO Trends to watch in the New Year, but we think it’s about time for a refresher. Here are some of the hottest topics being talked about in SEO so far this year:

Voice Search

We’ve been talking about optimising for voice search for quite some time now, and it’s only going to become more relevant. There’s no doubt about it: voice search will change how we create and optimise content, particularly how it relates to searcher intent.

SSL / HTTPS

Google announced quite some time ago that rankings would be impacted by website security certificates (SSL). Now browsers like Chrome display warnings if a website isn’t HTTPS secured. If you haven’t done so already, it’s important that you take the plunge and install a security certificate on your domain – it’s quite cost effective.

Searcher Intent

It’s obvious that Google continues to improve the way it serves results to its users, particularly in how it aims to serve quality content that is most relevant to the searcher’s query. It’s time that we optimise beyond simple keywords and traditional ranking factors to understand the types of content the search engines deem relevant for priority terms.

Video SEO

A study done by Cisco last year predicted that by 2021, video will account for over 82% of all consumer internet traffic. Not to mention, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine, with no signs of slowing down! Optimising video content is still a work in progress, but a powerful tool nonetheless.

You also have options other than YouTube. You can simply embed videos directly on your site and increase your ‘time on page’ metrics – yet another reason for Google to rank your site higher.

Snippets

Google continues to test and roll out new SERP features, including schema and “rank zero” snippet results, answer boxes and much more. There has never been more canvas to aim for!

Site Speed

Yes, we’re going to talk about site speed again. Google has officially announced site speed as a ranking factor and is only becoming more and more important for mobile with the introduction of the mobile first index.

Local SEO

For business owners, Position 0 is the most convenient place to be in search results. Featured snippets are like billboards: big letters, bright logo, address and phone number, a couple reviews as a bonus – all covering a large chunk of the screen and shamelessly in your face. Absolutely worth fighting for, too.

Accelerated Mobile Pages

In 2015, Google launched the Accelerated Mobile Pages project, and it’s been a great help for webmasters who want to speed their sites up. If your site has pages that function without code that’s excessive by AMP standards, consider using AMP. Once more, this coincides with Google’s heavy focus on improving their mobile experience and introducing the mobile first index.

What’s happening to .EU domains after Brexit?

What’s happening to .EU domains after Brexit?

You’d have to be living in a cave if you haven’t seen Brexit invading headlines for quite some time now. Apparently, it will be impacting the web in surprising new ways too!

In an official statement, the European Commission announced it will be cancelling all circa 300,000 domains under the .eu top-level domain that have a UK registrant, following Britain’s eventual withdrawal from the EU.

“As of the withdrawal date, undertakings and organizations that are established in the United Kingdom but not in the EU and natural persons who reside in the United Kingdom will no longer be eligible to register .eu domain names,” the document states or if they are .eu registrants, to renew .eu domain names registered before the withdrawal date.”

This obviously will have some very serious implications for companies in the UK who have been building their brand on .eu domains.

It also surprisingly goes against internet norms, which usually permits grandfathering of domains. For example, the .SU domain (Soviet Union) still exists, even though the region itself ceased to exist all the way back in 1991.

The EU does have the right to do whatever it wants with the .EU domain, and the original, 2006 rules clearly outline that it’s only available to those with EU residence, which soon enough will not apply to those in the United Kingdom – According to the registration rules for .EU domains, these domains are reserved for European Union, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, and once the United Kingdom is out of European Union, all the persons and businesses can lose access to these domains.

Under the current policies, an individual or organisation needs to have an address in the EU and a couple of neighbouring countries to qualify for registration:

(i) an undertaking having its registered office, central administration or principal place of business within the European Union, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, or

(ii) an organisation established within the European Union, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein without prejudice to the application of national law, or

(iii) a natural person resident within the European Union, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein.

The document from the European Union states that the United Kingdom submitted on 29 March 2017 the notification of its intention to withdraw from the Union pursuant to Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. This means that, unless a ratified withdrawal agreement establishes another date, all Union primary and secondary law will cease to apply to the United Kingdom from 30 March 2019, 00:00h (CET).

According to a quarterly report from EURid, the organization that manages .eu domains, there were 317,286 .eu domains registered by UK citizens at the end of last year (Q4 2017).

Brexit is currently scheduled for March 30th, 2019, so if you are currently utilising a .eu domain and are keen to avoid any losses you may want to consider setting up a new domain name now and putting all necessary SEO and marketing foundations in place.

From an SEO perspective, having 301 redirects from one URL to another URL indefinitely is best, but if that is impossible, the longer you have 301 redirects in place, the better off you are with Google, and other search engines.

5 Easy But Effective SEO Spring Cleaning Tasks

Today we’re taking it back to basics; but you’d be surprised how often the everyday technical SEO chores are overlooked or underutilised. But having a solid SEO foundation is key if you want any kind of longevity in your project.

Whilst building links and producing content is very powerful and effective when it comes to SEO, sometimes you just need to take a moment to do a little spring cleaning and ensure your house in in order.

Let’s take a look at five smart SEO tasks that will make sure you are getting the most out of your link building and content development efforts.

Broken Outgoing Links

Making sure your outgoing links are still operating is just as important as keeping your internal links 404-free. Websites come and go all the time, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to discover that some of the sites you’re linking to don’t exist anymore or their pages and URL structures have changed.

In some cases, you may even find that the websites you’re linking to have become unscrupulous, which is worse! These types of outbound links can harm your website’s organic ranking and can also create a poor user experience (UX).

Task – Perform a thorough scan on all outbound links using a tool such as Screaming Frog and ensure they are linking to relevant locations in one step.

Meta Descriptions

Whilst Meta Descriptions no longer have the same bearing on SEO as they used to, they are still a powerful piece of canvas for conversion and click-through rates on organic search. Often times however, someone will write a Meta description for a page once and never update it again.

However, it’s important to keep track of the changes in the search landscape and how this affects Meta descriptions. In December of 2017 for example, Google increased the maximum length of search results snippets from 160 characters to 320 characters. So anyone who hasn’t updated their descriptions may be missing an opportunity to improve click-through rates by adding a more engaging description.

Task – Review and tweak the Meta descriptions on all of your highest priority pages. If possible write an accurate and engaging description up to 320 characters long, naturally incorporating the target keyword for those specific pages.

Responsive Design

We keep barking on about how important mobile pages are becoming, but it’s the truth! Mobile search traffic takes up a significant majority, and that’s only set to increase.

Ensuring your mobile pages are responsive in design creates a positive user experience, which is a big plus in Google’s eyes.

Task – Test the mobile responsiveness of your website’s most important pages using Google’s Mobile Responsive Test and multiple mobile devices. You may even want to consider implementing AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) across your website, as it aims to serve mobile users in the quickest and simplest way possible.

Internal Linking

Much like auditing your outgoing links, it’s important to keep an eye on where your internal links are going and ensuring the destination URLs are still correct and relevant.

As with outbound links, search engines expect inbound links to point to a relevant page, without multiple steps.

Task – Scan your internal links and double check that they are pointing to relevant and working pages in one step for the best possible user experience and ranking signals.

Page Speed

This goes for both desktop and mobile pages – most websites load at an extremely sub-par speed.

Why is that important?

Firstly, page speed will become a ranking factor in mobile search in July of 2018. From Google’s Zhiheng Wang and Doantam Phan:

The “Speed Update,” as we’re calling it, will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and will only affect a small percentage of queries. It applies the same standard to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build the page. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a slow page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content.

Secondly, it plays a huge role in user experience, and as we all know UX is a ranking factor. So even before the mobile first index comes in to play, Page Speed is hugely important.

Task – It largely depends on the type of website you have as to how you should go about optimising page load times. However, the general rule of thumb should be to reduce the number of HTTP requests, optimise / merge CSS and Javascript files, optimise your images and make use of caching and content delivery networks (CDNs).

Are You Using nofollow Incorrectly?

Are You Using nofollow Incorrectly?

It’s become a recent trend among large sites like Forbes, Huffington Post and Entrepreneur to use nofollow attributes on their outbound links. But this is a trend that needs to stop!

As a general rule of thumb, if you can’t trust the content you are linking to, then don’t use it! It’s that simple, really. But lets take it back to basics and see exactly how nofollow attributes work:

Using nofollow in the head section of an entire page is vastly different to using it on specific outgoing links, and should really be avoided unless absolutely necessary.

How does Google treat nofollow?

When it comes to nofollow attributes, Google is clear in how they are treated:

In general, we don’t follow them. This means that Google does not transfer PageRank or anchor text across these links. Essentially, using nofollow  causes us to drop the target links from our overall graph of the web.

Let the juice flow

It’s always a good tactic to let PageRank flow to your website. If you absolutely have to automate nofollow links, try implementing a system that focuses nofollow attributes only on external links for body content, but only for links that you can’t control or don’t trust.

Nofollow attributes can create dead ends in crawls and stops the flow of signals through your website, especially when used at a page level. Whilst it may be easier to simply “blanket” nofollow in the head of the page, but the easiest route doesn’t always mean it’s the best route.

So to summarise, here are some important points to consider when you are looking to utilise nofollow attributes:

  • If you have to use a nofollow attribute, use it as an attribute on specific links but not at a page level.
  • Using nofollow at a page level just hurts you more than anything. It’s not a good idea.
  • Using nofollow on all outbound links is just a ridiculous practice built out of fear of linking out.
  • Using nofollow attributes on all outbound links may end up hurting your own website. I recommend you not do it.
  • Be careful not to use noindex and nofollow together in all situations just because you think they should be used together. They have different purposes.

 

301 vs 302 Redirects – What’s Best For SEO?

301 vs 302 Redirects – What’s Best For SEO?

It’s easy to get confused when considering which redirect you should use, whether you’ve removed or moved content on your website. Let’s take a look at what is best practice and also how the search engines view 301 and 302 redirects.

There are plenty of articles available in the SEO industry that discuss 301 and 302 redirects, particularly focusing on the fact that 302 redirects don’t pass any PageRank and that 301 redirects are far better for SEO.

But does this theory still apply in 2018?

To get straight to the point, first let’s answer the question “Should I use a 301 redirect when I want to permanently move content from one webpage to another?” In short, the answer is “Yes, absolutely”.

To ensure the search engines understand that your URL has been moved to a new location (permanently) with equivalent content, and should therefore pass any link equity, then a 301 redirect is the best.

But do 301, or any other 30x redirect for that matter, pass PageRank? Yes! They do!

Back in 2016, Google spokesperson Gary Illyes stated that all 300 level server-side redirects pass PageRank. This means that whether it’s a 301, 302 or even a 307, PageRank will still be passed.

According to Gary Illyes, in terms of redirects, 301s and 302s both pass the same PageRank to identical content. So really, if you’re only focusing on Google, using a 301 should be your first port of call, but using any 30x redirect you think is appropriate isn’t a bad move either.

However, in the US in particular, Bing claimed to have 33% of the market share, with a respectable 23% in the UK. So disregarding the alternate search engine entirely is inadvisable.

According to Bing’s webmaster guidelines it “prefers you use a 301 permanent redirect when moving content, should the move be permanent. If the move is temporary, then a 302 temporary redirect will work fine.”

Bing also stated that 302s which look permanent are eventually treated as 301s and pass link equity, but if you want to ensure the link equity is passed sooner, you should use a 301 before a 302 if you know the redirect is not temporary.

So what’s best practice?

To put it simply. If you’re redirecting a URL to equivalent content, and you aren’t planning on putting that content back on the original URL at any point, then use a 301 redirect to pass on link equity. As a rule of thumb, you can’t really go wrong by using a 301 for permanently redirecting content for SEO purposes.