SEO Corner: What are response codes?
SEO Corner: What Are Response Codes?
When it comes to optimizing your website for search engines, understanding response codes is essential. Response codes are three-digit numbers that web servers send to web browsers to communicate the status of a requested webpage. These codes play a crucial role in SEO, as search engine crawlers rely on them to determine the health and accessibility of your site’s pages. In this article, we’ll dive into the world of response codes, providing an overview of the most common HTML response codes, what they mean, and how they relate to search engine optimization (SEO).
1. 200 OK
200 OK response code is the most desired one for SEO. It indicates that the requested webpage has been found and is displaying correctly. Search engines love to see this code because it means the content is accessible and ready to be indexed.
SEO Tip: Make sure your valuable content returns a
200 OK response code. Regularly check for broken links and ensure that your pages are loading properly.
2. 301 Moved Permanently
301 response code signifies a permanent redirect. It tells search engines that the requested page has moved to a new URL. While this code is not an error, it’s crucial for SEO because it ensures that search engines transfer the ranking and indexing signals from the old page to the new one.
SEO Tip: Use
301 redirects when you change URLs or move content to maintain your search engine rankings.
3. 302 Found (or 302 Found)
302 response code indicates a temporary redirect. Unlike the
301 redirect, which is permanent, the
302 redirect tells search engines that the move is temporary, and they should not transfer ranking signals.
SEO Tip: Use
302 redirects sparingly and only when you have a legitimate temporary need for them.
4. 404 Not Found
404 Not Found error is one of the most well-known response codes. It means that the requested page was not found on the server. This can happen due to a broken link or a deleted page. While
404 errors are common, they can negatively impact SEO if not handled correctly.
SEO Tip: Customize your
404 error page to provide helpful information and navigation options. Regularly monitor and fix broken links to prevent
5. 410 Gone
Similar to the
404 error, the
410 Gone response code indicates that a page is no longer available. However, it carries a different meaning: it tells search engines that the page has been intentionally removed and will not return. This can be useful for SEO when you want to signal to search engines that a page should no longer be indexed.
SEO Tip: Use
410 Gone for pages that you want to permanently remove from search engine indexes.
6. 500 Internal Server Error
500 Internal Server Error is a generic server error code. It indicates that something has gone wrong on the server’s end, making it unable to fulfill the request. Frequent
500 errors can negatively impact SEO because they disrupt the user experience.
SEO Tip: Monitor your website for
500 errors and address server issues promptly to maintain a smooth user experience and search engine rankings.
Understanding HTML response codes is vital for effective SEO. By ensuring that your website returns the appropriate response codes, you can improve your site’s accessibility, user experience, and search engine rankings. Regularly monitor and address any issues related to response codes to keep your website in top-notch SEO shape. Remember, a well-optimized website not only pleases search engines but also provides a better experience for your users.