HTTP Status Codes 101 – Best Practices for SEO

HTTP Status Codes- These are 3 digit codes that are handled or provided to the crawler, spider, googlebot, or your browser whenever the server gets a request for a page.

http status codes

Response Codes are an important part of SEO. They tell the Googlebot to take what action on that page. Even better, it preserves all your domains link  juice, and if used wrong, can also destroy it. There is a complete need for big sites to just focus on their response codes while renewing some pages, or moving to a new domain or changing their link structure. A wrong response code will create a havoc on the site, leading all the users to inappropriate landing pages.

Here are some of the main problems caused when you don’t use them correctly.

  • Non-indexing of pages
  • Indexing of wrong pages
  • Content may be flagged as duplicate
  • The domain may function wrong (redirecting users to wrong pages, or sending them to 404 pages)
  • There are enormous problems other than that,also

So, in order to avoid these problems, you better learn correct response codes for your domain or site.

http code

HTTP Status Codes- The Most Widely Used!

  1. 404 page not found : This Http Status Code is the one that is avoided due to breaking of Link juice. When a web page returns 404, i.e. the page actually does not exist and thus is not found. The Google Bot moves to  another page, thinking  of this page as dead. Which, in most cases, it actually is. The 404 http status code is most used due to the  following reasons.
  • Mistyping of the page URL.
  • Wrongly sharing the URL at Social Media streams.
  • Changing the format of the URL
  • redirection of the main domain but not all the pages on the previous URL
  • Migration of a Website to another domain

Tip : To avoid 404 http status code, just make sure that you have used migrated the site correctly. Redirecting each of its pages, and sub-domain URLs. If a 404 URL is requested for a long time and is in popular use before migration. You might consider redirecting it to a similar page. For pages that had valuable links pointing to them. Never forget to redirect them.

2. 301 page permanently moved : When this http status code is returned for a page. The bot or crawler is redirected to the page where it points. All the Link Juice is  thus transferred to the new URL. Comes in handy for curing 404 pages, Site Migration, domain migration. This  means that the file/page has now been provided a different page. Sometimes, redirecting unnecessary domains to your web page creates link spam.

3. 302 page temporarily moved : The  http status code tells the crawler that the page has been provided a new location for a short period of time. And the page will soon be available at the same URL. No doubts, this http status code is for sites which are not permanently moving but assigning a new domain for a shorter  time. It is beneficial to use when you don’t want the Link Juice to be passed along to the new page.

4. 200 OK :  It indicates to the crawler/browser that the page is actually available and will be provided in the next moment. The page that you are reading now have a 200 http status code assigned with it. This http status code is not an error.

5. 300 page moved : The http code shows that the page has been moved but  need one more step to perform the action of redirecting. This may occur when a webmaster didn’t specified the URL correctly. 301 is always better than it.

6. 410 Gone: The page you are looking for is no longer available. If there is  a page on your site that returns most 404 http status code and have nothing to be redirected to. You might use 410. It is better for SEO purposes, removes the URL from Google’s index more quickly and tells the bot to try this URL less often. In other words, you can better say it  a permanent http status code for 404(page not found).

7. 503 Service is not available : The server is not able to handle the page request. Or the server isn’t ready to handle the page request or the file URL. May be mostly seen when a site server has just crashed, or is at the edge of being crashed due to over – loading.

Best SEO Practives for HTTP Status Codes :

For Search Engine  Optimization, these are the best practices that are currently in swing:

    • 404 http status code : 404 errors should be redirected to a particular relevant page when asked for  a longer time. It has no doubt that finding 404  errors is an equally important part of the process.  For those pages, that seems to have 404 errors permanently, you should always use 410 response code.
    • The most common mistake when treating 404 pages  is  that admins redirect those pages to home page, category page or even the archives. This is a bad idea! It irritates users and creates misconceptions for Googlebot understanding the home page to the 301 of the 404 URL. This can drown your rankings, so be careful.
    • 301 redirects when appropriate : 301 is recommended instead of 302 in most cases. As 302 does not properly handles the link juice. The Google Link Index of your page will be killed by it. So, using 301 for the pages that you think appropriate is recommended.
    • The  proper error page : The visits that are sent to 404 pages are still hard earned visits. It is  always recommended to include these  things in your 404 page. Here is assistance from Google for creating custom 404 pages.
  • 1. A search box.
  • 2. Proper  navigation. Links to relevant pages on your site.
  • 4. Link to your archives and most often popular pages.

So, these were some best SEO practices for http status codes. Here are some  more resources for you to enjoy.

About Vikas

Founder of Insiter Network, Young Blogger, Affiliate Marketer, Proud Indian, Shameless Promoter, Chris Brown and Hip-Hop music Lover.

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