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HTTP server response codes and their impact on SEO

Google representatives often mentioned that a whole set of factors affects the ranking of resources, and the correctness of program codes and redirects plays a key role. In addition to affecting rankings, HTTP code statuses help you find out what is happening between the browser and the server, so their value cannot be overestimated.

HTTP codes: what is their essence

The HTTP status code is a three-digit number located at the beginning of the server’s response to an HTTP request.With this code, it is easy to understand whether the request was successful or not. And if not, then find out the nature of the error and quickly eliminate it.

Codes’ categories

There are the following categories of HTTP server response codes:

  1. 1xx (information). They indicate the status of processing request and are extremely rare.
  2. 2xx (completed requests). They show that everything went according to plan.
  3. 3xx (redirection). Indicate that the requested page has changed its address.
  4. 4xx (client error). Indicate errors on the user’s side.
  5. 5xx (server error). Indicate problems on the server.

Note that each category of HTTP server response codes has a different number of codes themselves. In total, there are about forty official codes.

How to find out the HTTP code yourself

There are situations when there is a need to figure out HTTP codes on your own. For example, you need to know the error code to quickly fix it. In this case:

  • open the page where the error occurred;
  • find developer tools;
  • go to the «Network» tab and update the site;
  • after a few seconds of waiting, all the HTTP response codes of the server will appear in front of you.

Important HTTP codes for SEO

Separate codes affect site promotion. In particular, class codes 1xx and 2xx do not particularly affect page position in the search results. But class codes 3xx, 4xx and 5xx will affect the page ranking, but in different ways.According to the above-mentioned information, 3xx class codes are redirect codes. These include permanent redirects, which transfer the positions of the old page to the new one, and temporary ones, which do not. If temporary redirects last for a very long time, Google will start to treat them as permanent ones.Class codes 4xx and 5xx indicate errors and negatively affect the position of the resource. If a search robot opens a page and sees an HTTP error, it will return there again during the day. If the error is still present, the robot removes the page from the index.To check if a page is indexed or not, use Google Search Console. Sometimes false 404 errors (soft 404) appear in Google Search Console, which do not affect the ranking of other pages. It is a preventive measure by Google so that lower ranked pages are not considered as spam.In conclusion, it is worth noting that HTTP codes are a significant part of SEO optimizers work. You will encounter them all the time, so it is important to know what this or that code means, how to quickly fix the situation and not lose ranking positions.

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