HTTP Status Codes – Best Practices for SEO


HTTP Status Codes OR Http Response Codes?

If you check on Google, it will give you similar results for HTTP status codes and HTTP response codes. In industry, both status and response codes are considered the same. In this article, we are using both HTTP response codes and HTTP status codes.

What is Http Status Codes?

Http Response Codes

Whenever search engines or website visitors make a request to a web server, a three-digit response code is returned which indicate the response and status of HTTP request. These 3-digit codes are called HTTP response status codes.

These 3-digit numbers are returned by servers to indicate the status of requests made by search engines/visitors. The first digit of each of the 3-digit code begins with numbers 1 through 5.

List of Http Status Codes

The HTTP status codes fall into following categories:

1XXs – Information based: Showing request received and processing.
2XXs – Success: Request received and processed successfully.
3XXs – Redirection: Request received but additional step required to complete the request.
4XXs – Client error: Request made by the client, but an invalid page.
5XXs – Server error: Valid request made by the client, but server failed to complete.

There are many different HTTP response status codes but not all of them are not important to SEO. Here we are discussing only those response status codes which are important for SEO.

HTTP Status Codes Important for SEO

Http status codes are very important from the SEO point of view. Let’s understand what each of the status code means and how it affects website SEO.

Http Response Status Code – 200 OK

200 OK - Http Response Codes

Status text – OK/Success

Description – The request is successful. In 200 OK, the visitor, robot link juice all arrives at the requested page.

Http Response Status Code – 301 Permanent

301 Permanent - Http Response Codes

Status text – Moved Permanently/Permanent redirection

Description – A new permanent URL has been assigned to the requested resource. The requested resource is available at the new URL only. In 301 Permanent, the visitor, robot link juice all redirected to the new page URL from the old page URL.

Http Status code – 302 Temporary

302 Temporary - Http Response Codes

Status text – Temporary Redirection

Description – The server is responding the request by fetching a page from a different location. This action is temporary. The requester is going to use the original location for future requests.

In 302 Temporary, the visitor, robot are redirected to the new page URL from the old page URL, but the link juice is left behind at the old page. It is recommended to use 301 redirections for permanent redirection to pass the link juice value from old URL to the new URL.

Http Response Status Code – 404 Not found

404 Not Found - Http Response Codes

Status text – Not found/File not found

Description – Server cannot find requested resource. There is no indication given whether the situation is temporary or permanent in this response code.

In 404 Not found, the visitor land on a 404 page while the link juice is still with the 404 URL. It is recommended to use a custom 404 page on your website with links to all the important pages present on it. It will keep the users on the website even if they encounter a 404 URL.

It is recommended to redirect all the 404 URLs to their respective relevant URLs.

Http Response Status Code – 410 Gone

Status text – Gone

Description – The requested content is deleted and is no longer available on the server. There is no forwarding address known and this condition seems to be permanent.

In 410 Gone, the visitor land at a page showing 410 response status code. The robot realizes that the page is gone permanently. The link juice is still remaining with the URL. It is recommended to redirect this URL to any other relevant URL.

Http Status code – 500 Server Error

500 Server error - Http Response Codes

Status text – Internal Server Error

Description – The server has encountered a situation and unable to handle it. In 500 Server error, everyone is lost and confused.

Http Response Status Code – 503 Unavailable

503 Unavailable - Http Response Codes

Status text – Service Unavailable

Description – The server is not ready to handle the request because either server is down for maintenance or overloaded. This 503 status code is sent when the server is down temporarily for a short period of time and this ensures that the search engines know to come back soon.

In 503 Unavailable, The visitor robot both are asked to come back some time later.

REL Canonical tag

Rel=Canonical tag in SEO

rel=canonical tag is an alternative to 301 redirects.

In REL canonical, the visitor can visit both the old new page. Link juice and robots are redirected to the new URL.

  • Importance of rel=canonical tag in SEO

A complete list of all the HTTP response status codes is present at Mozilla blog.

It is very important to understand the HTTP status codes and their impact on a website SEO. Please comment below your queries and suggestions in the comment section below.

Image source: MOZ

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