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5 common HTTP status code and what they mean

July 2, 2021 0 comments

HTTP status codes are a common sight for webmasters and SEO professionals. Each status code tells a different story, and it can share valuable insights into what’s right or wrong with your website.

As you may know, HTTP status codes also show different types of errors that can inform you what is wrong with your website. Identifying these issues in a timely manner and fixing these technical SEO problems can help you improve the quality and credibility of your website as well as its performance in search engines.

In this blog post, we are going to list a few common HTTP status codes, what each code means, and what you can do about it.

5 Common HTTP Status Codes

Here are five common HTTP status codes that SEO professionals and webmasters need to be aware of.

1. HTTP 200

If you see HTTP 200 for any web page, it means everything is fine, and you do not have anything to worry about.

200 refers to a perfectly fine response. In other words, it means that Google can find and crawl the page and may pass it forward for indexing on the search engine results pages (SERPs).

It is important to note that a 200 status code does not guarantee that a page will be indexed in the SERPs. It only means that Google could not find any errors.

2. HTTP 301

301 is a common code that is often seen in large websites or websites that have gone through multiple redesigns and major updates.

The 301 status code refers to a permanent redirect.  It means that a page has now been redirected to another page — which means that visitors, as well as bots, will be redirected.

A 301 is a stronger signal compared to 302 and passes most of the link equity to the active page.

You should use a 301 for pages that have been permanently replaced by another page. If you are merging multiple pages, a 301 can be a good option as it consolidates link equity.

However, ideally, you need to minimize redirects as much as possible, as too many redirects may slow down your website as well as waste your crawl budget.

3. HTTP 302

Unlike a 301, which is a permanent redirect, a 302 refers to a temporary redirect.

In the case of a 302, users and search engine bots are redirected to a different page, but not all link equity may pass along.

If a change is permanent, it is always recommended to use a 301 instead of a 302. Similarly, if passing link equity to the second page is crucial, you should not use a 302.

4. HTTP 404

A 404 is probably the most common error code that most webmasters, web designers, and SEOs would see in their careers. It is common because a 404 does not always represent some problem with your website.

If your site has a broken page that the user can’t access, they will see a 404. That’s on you. However, that’s not the only time a user may see a 40 error. For instance, if a website visitor types in an incorrect URL, they would also see a 404 error.

That’s why it is something that you can’t completely eliminate the possibility of.

Creating a 301 to redirect users away from broken URLs is a recommended practice. But that must be done with caution, as not every 404 page should be permanently redirected to another page.

It is also recommended to create an interesting custom 404 page with relevant internal links that encourage lost visitors to stay on your website. Otherwise, most online users quit the website after encountering a 404 error.

5. HTTP 5xx

5xx status codes refer to server-related errors. These errors trigger search engine bots to slow down temporarily. This directly affects their crawling speed and efficacy. 

Furthermore, if previously indexed URLs continue to show a 5xx server error, they may eventually be dropped from the index.

Conclusion

While the HTTP status codes may not look very interesting, they provide valuable information about a website and how search engine crawlers are interpreting a web page. 

By understanding what each code means, you can quickly identify the problem and fix it. And now you know the five most common types of HTTP status codes, what they mean, and what you can do about them.

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