Preface: HTTP status codes and their relationship to SEO
HTTP status codes like 404, 301, and 500 may not make much sense to a regular user, but they are very important for queries. Search engine robots, like Google’s robots, also use these codes to evaluate the health of a site. These status codes are one way of viewing how the browser and server interact.
Some of these codes indicate an error, such as the “Cannot find requested” error. While other codes suggest a solution to these problems. In this article, we want to take a comprehensive look at the most important status codes and explain their meaning in SEO.
What are HTTP status codes and why do you see them?
An HTTP status code is a message from the server when a request is made by the browser. This message can mean that the request is made or not. There are many status codes that you probably haven’t encountered yet. If you need a glance at all the status codes, visit the HTTPstatuses.com website.
To understand these codes you need to know how a browser gets a page. Every visit to a website begins by entering its URL in the browser or clicking on its name through the search results. The browser sends the request to the IP of the website. The web server also sends a response in the form of a status code to the browser containing the result of the request. If everything is OK, the status code 200 will be returned to the browser along with the page content.
However, there may be a problem with the server providing the requested content. This could be due to the lack of a page, in which case the 404 error code will be returned to the browser. The server may have temporary issues and may result in sending the status code 500 to the browser. These status codes are one of the important tools for evaluating the health of a website and its server. If a site continually sends inappropriate status codes to Google’s robots, it is likely to face a decline in site rank.
Status Code Types
There are generally five types of HTTP status codes that represent the overall state of interaction between the server and the user. The following is a list of the general types of these codes.
- 1xx: Status codes containing information
- 2xx: Successful status codes
- 3xx: Redirect status codes
- 4xx: Status codes include error on the user side
- 5xx: Status codes including server error
Informational Http status codes
- 100 Continue
- 101 Switching Protocols
- 102 Processing
Success Http status codes
- 200 OK
- 201 Created
- 202 Accepted
- 203 Non-authoritative Information
- 204 No Content
- 205 Reset Content
- 206 Partial Content
- 207 Multi-Status
- 208 Already Reported
- 226 IM Used
Redirection Http status codes
- 300 Multiple Choices
- 301 Moved Permanently
- 302 Found
- 303 See Other
- 304 Not Modified
- 305 Use Proxy
- 307 Temporary Redirect
- 308 Permanent Redirect
Client Error Http status codes
- 400 Bad Request
- 401 Unauthorized
- 402 Payment Required
- 403 Forbidden
- 404 Not Found
- 405 Method Not Allowed
- 406 Not Acceptable
- 407 Proxy Authentication Required
- 408 Request Timeout
- 409 Conflict
- 410 Gone
- 411 Length Required
- 412 Precondition Failed
- 413 Payload Too Large
- 414 Request-URI Too Long
- 415 Unsupported Media Type
- 416 Requested Range Not Satisfiable
- 417 Expectation Failed
- 418 I’m a teapot
- 421 Misdirected Request
- 422 Unprocessable Entity
- 423 Locked
- 424 Failed Dependency
- 426 Upgrade Required
- 428 Precondition Required
- 429 Too Many Requests
- 431 Request Header Fields Too Large
- 444 Connection Closed Without Response
- 451 Unavailable For Legal Reasons
- 499 Client Closed Request
Server Error Http status codes
- 500 Internal Server Error
- 501 Not Implemented
- 502 Bad Gateway
- 503 Service Unavailable
- 504 Gateway Timeout
- 505 HTTP Version Not Supported
- 506 Variant Also Negotiates
- 507 Insufficient Storage
- 508 Loop Detected
- 510 Not Extended
- 511 Network Authentication Required
- 599 Network Connect Timeout Error
The most important HTTP status codes for SEO
As mentioned, the list of these codes is very long, but some of them are very important for SEO and you should consider them on your site. Here’s a brief explanation of these important codes.
200: OK / Success
This is the code that should be passed to the browser. The user requests the content server and the server sends 200 OK messages with the status code. In this situation, both the server, the browser, and the user are satisfied and will experience no problems. In other words, the 2xx code indicates that there is no problem presenting the site content.
301: Permanently Moved
A status code 301 alerts a page to a new page permanently. Normally when you are working on the site you will probably use this code to permanently transfer an old URL to a new URL. Failure to do so will cause users to encounter a 404 error when opening an old URL, and this is not something you like. Using Redirect 301 will also redirect the value of the previous link to the new one.
Status code 302 means the target page has been found, but the URL is now something else. As it turns out, this code is a bit ambiguous, as it does not indicate that it is temporary or permanent. You can tell the browser with a code 302 that the previous page has been temporarily moved to a new URL but will use the same URL in the future. In this case, the search engines will not transfer the value of the previous link to the new URL, so Redirect 302 should not be used when a site is permanently moved.
307: Temporary Redirect
Code 307 replaces code 302 in the HTTP 1.1 protocol. You can use Redirect 307 in temporary URL transmission. Code 307 looks like code 302, except that it puts more emphasis on the timeliness of the URL transfer. New, but temporary URLs may change over time, so users should always use the original link.
403: Forbidden Http status codes
Code 403 tells the browser that viewing the requested content is forbidden to the user. If users do not have a login account, that page will be banned for them.
404: Not Found
Code 404 is one of the most visited status codes by users and hence one of the most important. When the server reports a 404 error to the browser, it indicates that it is unavailable or deleted. Do not get too involved with this error and fix the problem as soon as possible. In such cases, you can redirect pages with 404 errors to another URI or related article.
Manage the 404 errors on Google’s webmaster and reduce them as much as possible. The high number of pages of 404 indicates weak site maintenance and does not send a good signal to Google. As a result, this will negatively impact your site’s ranking. If one of your site pages is damaged or completely deleted, the 410 status code is a clearer signal to Google.
410: Gone Http status codes
The result seen from status code 410 is the same as code 404 and in each of these cases, the item is not found. However, by using code 410 you tell the search engines that the requested content has been removed from the site, so code 410 has a clearer message. As a result, you also indirectly tell search engines to remove the page from their index. Before attempting to clear one of your site’s pages, ask yourself whether there is a page equivalent to this one on the website. If the answer is yes, you should redirect the page to the same page.
451: Unavailable for Legal Reasons
Status code 451 indicates that a page has been removed from the website for legal reasons. If you receive a legal order to clear a page, you can explain to the search engines why this page was deleted.
500: Internal Server Error
Error 500 indicates that there is a problem processing the page on the server-side, without mentioning its agent. This error may have many resources. Any problems with your host as well as any malicious scripts on the website can cause this error. View and analyze your server log file for a more detailed look at this error.
503: Service Unavailable Http status codes
The server gives the user a 503 error when it is unable to serve because of its resources. You can use this error when updating site resources and temporarily interrupting it. With this code, search engines will also find out and refer to the site at other times.
Working with HTTP status codes
HTTP status codes play a prominent role in SEO, and search robots care about them. You come across them every day and it is very important to understand their differences. For example, if you are trying to clear a page from the site, it is important to understand the difference between 301 and 410. These two codes have different goals and thus produce different results.
If you want to see the types of status codes your site generates, go to Google Search Console and see them in the crawl errors menu. On this page, there is a list of errors that Google’s robots have found in a given period. These errors must necessarily be corrected for the correct site index. Also, if you use WordPress to manage site content, you can solve any of these errors using the Yoast SEO plugin.
Manage redirects with the Yoast SEO plugin
Redirect pages are a bit boring and even more difficult if they are large. With the Yoast SEO plugin in WordPress, you can easily redirect pages and take advantage of its options.
You users should be familiar with these codes to understand what they mean when viewing them. Proper use of redirects can have a positive impact on on-site optimization. By looking at the patch errors section of Google Search Console you can find out how much work you can do to manage these errors.
Working with Digital marketing, SEO services, and website design with a highly experienced team for years, َAvenger IT Next Generation has been able to meet the needs of people in various businesses and help businesses grow. Continuously updating their level of knowledge and exploring different markets has surpassed the pioneers in this field and incorporate successful experiences into their careers.
Avenger IT Next Generation is a website design and development agency and an SEO agency to promote your business, call with us.