HTTP Status Codes and SEO You Must Know

HTTP status codes originate from the server hosting a website when it responds to a request from a client, which could be a web browser or a web crawler, for instance. While each HTTP status code carries a distinct significance, they often lead to similar outcomes. For instance, several status codes indicate redirection, yet their ultimate impact is alike.

In the Search Console, error messages are generated for status codes falling within the 4xx–5xx range and for failed redirections (3xx). If the server’s response contains a 2xx status code, the content received in this response may be considered eligible for indexing.

HTTP status codes play a crucial role in SEO and website performance. They inform browsers and search engines about the status of a web page request. Here are some key points related to HTTP status codes and their impact on SEO:

  1. Understanding HTTP Response Status Codes: When a browser requests a webpage, the server responds with an HTTP response status code. These codes indicate the success or failure of the request. There are different categories of status codes, including informational responses, successful responses, redirection responses, client error responses, and server error responses.

  2. Importance of 301 and 302 Redirects: Redirects are commonly used when moving or renaming web pages. A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect, while a 302 redirect is a temporary one. Choosing the right redirect type is crucial to ensure proper SEO and signalling to search engines. Correct redirect helps search engines understand the content’s new location and appropriately transfer ranking signals.

  3. Impact on Search Engine Rankings: Properly implementing redirects can help maintain search engine rankings and preserve the link equity associated with the old URLs. However, improper implementation or excessive redirects can negatively impact SEO performance and user experience. It’s important to handle redirects correctly to avoid potential issues.

  4. Common HTTP Status Code Errors: Some common HTTP status code errors include the 404 error (page not found), 403 error (forbidden access), and 500 error (internal server error). These errors can impact SEO and the user experience. Monitoring and fixing these errors is important to ensure a smooth website experience and avoid negative SEO consequences.

Understanding and managing HTTP status codes is essential for maintaining a healthy website and optimizing SEO performance. Properly implementing redirects and addressing common status code errors can help ensure a positive user experience and improve search engine rankings.

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