HTTP status codes are extremely important for SEOs as they allow you to know what happens between a server and a browser. Some status codes suggest the successful delivery of the content, while others indicate an error. This post explains the major codes, when these codes appear, and also how server error messages are relevant to SEO.
What are HTTP status codes? HTTP status codes are response codes that web servers give on the internet. A server sends this message when the browser makes a request and it can or cannot gets fulfilled. This course help to identify the cause of the problem when a web page does not load properly. When user enters a URL on the browser, it sends a request to the website’s IP address to access the web page.
The server responds with status code embedded in the HTTP header which tells the browser the result of the request. HTTP 200 header code is sent back along with the content when everything is fine. But when something is wrong with the content or server, it gives back an error code.
HTTP status quotes are used by search engines to determine the health of the website and the server. If a website sends error codes to search engine, rankings may fall. That’s why, inspecting the HTTP status codes is also one of the 8 STEPS TO A BETTER TECHNICAL SEO AUDIT.
5 major types of status codes
There are 5 major types of HTTP status codes. These codes are 3-digit numbers, the first digit signifies the different aspects of transactional processes between the client and the server.
- Status code 1xx: These informational codes indicate a provisional response. People rarely encounter or have to deal with such codes.
- Status code 2xx: These success codes mean the successful content processing of the client’s request.
- Status code 3xx: All the status codes starting with 3xx are redirection codes. For instance, 301 and 302 redirects are quite commonly implemented for the webpages and encountered as one of the top 7 TECHNICAL SEO PROBLEMS FACED BY MOST PROFESSIONALS.
- Status code 4xx: All such codes are client error messages.
- Status code 5xx: These HTTP status codes are server error messages. This means that while processing the request something went wrong at the level of the server. In other words, it happens when search engine crawlers could not load the page due to long load time. Such kind of site errors are most basic crawl errors that we generally face. You may like to read our comprehensive blog on COMMON SEO CRAWL ERRORS AND HOW TO FIX THEM that lists all kinds of crawl errors that you may encounter for your website.
Important status codes: General SEO codes
Now you need to learn http status codes for SEO. Even though there are a number of such codes, here are some most important codes for SEOs:
- 200: OK/Success– This is the standard response which means the successful completion of a user’s request. In other words, when a client requests a server for any content, and it gets successfully delivered, the server replies with a 200 success message.
- 301: Moved permanently– This is the preferred status code when redirecting content on your website. It is used when the requested URL has moved to a new location. The 301 redirect will navigate user to the right URL and also the link value of the old URL will transfer to the new one.
- 302: Found– This means that the target URL has been found but has moved to a new location. You should only use a 302 redirect when you want the traffic to go to a new URL for a short while. 302 status code tells the search engines that the original URL will be used again so the link value is not transferred.
- 307: Temporary redirect– A 307 is the original temporary redirect. It is usually for emergency redirects like when the server is down. This status response code signifies that the content of a webpage has temporarily moved to a new URL which is given by the location headers.
Important status codes: 4XX & 5XX codes
- 403: Forbidden– This shows that even though the request was valid, the server will not respond to it. It tells the browser that the requested content is forbidden for the user. It might be because the user does not have the credentials to login. Pages with such status codes generally do not appear in the search results.
- 404: Not found– It is one of the most visible and important status codes. When the server is unable to find the content, it returns a 404 status code. It is extremely important to fix these errors by using a redirect.
- 410: Gone– This is similar as 404 but a 410 tells search engines that the requested content is deleted.
- 500: Internal server error– This HTTP status code means that something went wrong at the code or database level. It usually means that something occurred which prevented the server from fulfilling the request.
- 503: Service unavailable– A server usually sends 503 status codes when it cannot handle the request due to an overload. A user get to see this during planned server maintenance by a website owner.
So, HTTP status codes are important for SEOs and search engine crawlers. It is important to know what different codes mean and how server error messages are relevant to SEO as you may encounter them on a daily basis. By logging in to the Google search console, you can get an idea of the various kinds of status quotes which your website generates. Read our next blog on WHAT IS HTTP2: IMPACT ON SEO AND HOW TO IMPLEMENT IT to know how you can enable this latest HTTP protocol to optimize your SEO and enrich user experience.
Still have no idea what’s going on with your website? Well, you can reach us to get advance SEO services and we will take care of all your work.