HTTP Status Codes and Their Effects on SEO
If you don’t have a background in web design or programming, you may not be familiar with HTTP status codes. These codes are an important part of website development and can have a significant effect on SEO.
What are HTTP Status Codes?
HTTP status codes inform the user’s browser whether their request for a particular page was successful. When a request is successful, the code is typically 200 (OK). But when something goes wrong, other codes are generated.
The most common HTTP status codes used in SEO include 301 (Moved Permanently), 404 (Not Found), and 500 (Internal Server Error). The different codes can have a huge impact on how search engine spiders crawl your website, so it’s important to understand them. So, let’s look at these three common status codes in turn.
A 301 status code indicates that a page or resource has been permanently moved to a new URL. It’s important to use this code when you’re redirecting people from an old page to a new one, as it will ensure that the link equity of the old page is passed to the new one. This helps improve your SEO rankings and should be used whenever you make changes to the structure of your website.
A 404 status code indicates that a page was not found on the server. This is often caused by an incorrect link or a typo in the URL, as well as other issues. If this happens frequently, it can negatively affect your SEO rankings, so it’s important to check your website regularly for broken links and fix them as soon as possible.
The 500 status code is a server-side error and means there is something wrong on the server side. This can be caused by problems such as an incorrectly configured .htaccess file or corrupt files. It’s important to ensure your server is properly configured and running correctly to avoid issues with SEO rankings.
Elsewhere, the 403 status code is reserved for pages where access to the resource is explicitly forbidden. This does not necessarily indicate an issue with SEO, but it can affect user experience by preventing them from accessing a particular page on your website. It’s important to make sure that pages that should not be accessible to the public are blocked with a 403 status code.
Importance of Monitoring HTTP Status Codes
Monitoring HTTP status codes is an essential part of SEO best practices. When webpages return 4xx or 5xx errors, search engine crawlers may not be able to index them, which can lead to missing page titles, meta descriptions, and other important information. This could result in a decrease in organic search engine traffic, as well as decreased user experience.
Additionally, if your website has a large number of URLs that return 5xx errors, search engines may classify your website as unreliable, which can lead to lower rankings in the SERPs.
At the same time, it is important to note that not all HTTP status codes are bad. 200 and 301-308 codes are all considered to be “good” by search engines. A 200 code indicates that the page was accessed successfully, while a 301-308 code indicates that the page has been permanently or temporarily redirected to another page. Both of these will not negatively affect SEO, as the search engine is still able to crawl and index the content on the redirected page.
For proactive management on your website, consider working with Glendale SEO specialists this year!