HTTP Response Codes SEO – Transcript
In the SEO world it’s more than likely you would have come across the term response codes when it comes to loading a website and what happens when you try and load a web page. Now, there are a number of response codes across the web in general. In fact, there are at least 70 in total. In this video, I’m going to break down the most common response codes and what to do with them when it comes to SEO and how you manage those response codes and what they mean for your website as well. Let’s get into it.
Hey guys, Darren Taylor of thebigmarketer.co.uk here. My job is to teach you all about digital marketing. If that’s up your street, you should consider subscribing to my channel. In this video, I’m going to walk you through the most common response codes you should be aware of when it comes to SEO and your website. First things first, it makes sense to understand what I mean when I say a response code.
An HTTP response code is simply a response given from a server to a client who accesses a server to pull a web page back and return it. If I go to a website and I go to a web page, what I’m actually doing is requesting that page from a web server. Now, depending on the status of that page, the server will return to me the page as I expect it or a number of other things could happen as well. All of these responses are classed under HTTP response code. Let’s get into the most common response codes.
Let’s start off with the good. Now, the good is a 200 response code. That means everything is absolutely okay. This is what you want across your website. If you go to a website and you go to a page and the page displays and it’s pulled back from the server exactly how you’d expect it, then guess what, you have a 200 response code, which means everything is perfect. That’s exactly what you want for your website. Don’t worry about 200 status codes and there’s no issues whatsoever if your website pages return a 200 status code.
The next series of codes we’re going to look at are from the 300 series and these come under redirection. When I go to a web page, if I try and access a page and the server redirects me to another page, this is known as a redirect. There are two types of redirects you need to be aware of when it comes to SEO. The first one of those two is a 301 redirect. A 301 redirect is a permanent redirection of a web page.
If I’m a webmaster and I own a website and I create a products page on my website and I no longer do that product anymore, I could decide I want to redirect that user who wants to access the original products that I’ve deleted, I want to redirect them to a different products that they might be interested in or a very similar products or the new products taking over. In order for me to do that, I would instruct to my web designer or I could even do this myself if you have the know-how to redirects that page so when someone tries to access it, the server automatically redirects it to the new page and that is known as a 301 redirect. A permanent redirect.
It’s important for me to highlight the word permanent in that redirect because that tells Google that the page has moved forever. It no longer exists in terms of the previous page and the new page should take all authority that that page was having. That is a really important thing in SEO because you don’t want Google to think it’s a temporary redirect, which I’ll go on to right now. The next type of redirects is a 302 redirect. This is a temporary redirect.
What this means is you may have a web page and you think, right, I want to do some work on this page, or it’s not quite ready, or I’ve got an event coming up, I don’t want to change it to go to a certain specific type of page, you can temporarily redirect the page if you wanted to, and in this instance, Google will take that redirect and say, “This page is being redirected to this other page but only temporarily.” Therefore, I’m not going to follow this page all the way through and expect all of the authority to go through to the new redirects because this new page might not be around for that much longer and as will the redirect, so the redirect might not be around for much longer either.
In that situation, a 302 redirect or a temporary redirection should I say, on a page, you want to be permanently redirected is bad for SEO, because you’re not going to carry over all the authority that you would with a permanent redirect. Guys, make sure if you’re moving a page permanently, be sure to have a 301 redirect in place. It’s very rare to see 302 redirects, but they do have their place, but usually, more often than not, if you’ve deleted a page and you want to send a user somewhere else, it’s really important to use a 301 redirect.
The next status codes we’re going to look at now are the 400 series status codes. Now, these ones are really important to be aware of in SEO. Let’s start with the most common one that I’m sure you’ve seen a number of times. That is a 404 error. A 404 error essentially means that the page no longer exists and it can’t be found. When you go to a website and you trying access a page that’s been removed from the website, if the views of the websites or the owner of the website hasn’t put a redirect in place, and you try and find that page on the web server, and it’s not available and it’s not found, then the server will return the request to your browser saying, 404 page not found.
Now, what you’ll realize is a lot of companies customized their 404 page to make them funny or a bit humorous and things like that. It’s quite a common response code. That’s an important thing to note. A 404 response code is an acceptable response code. However, if you have quite a small website and a large proportion of your pages are returning a 404 response code, then you need to get these fixed.
You either need to fix the broken links in your website that are going to dead pages or put 301 redirects in place to direct the traffic to the correct web page because if a lot of your site is made up of error pages, it can negatively impact the performance on Google. However, if you have a large website with a few error pages, this is perfectly acceptable. A 404 status code is perfectly fine in Google’s eyes because it’s a valid response to a request from a user. That’s the important thing.
Fix the errors you can, but in errors of large websites where it could be very difficult to pinpoint and fix the 404 errors, just remember, it’s okay to have them as well. There are a number of other 400 series error, but in this video, we’re going to focus on the most common one. There are tons of others out there, for example, where websites are forbidden, where payments are needed, and a number of other issues as well.
We’ll focus on the main ones that you’ll probably see in your Google Search Console. Again, make sure you create a Google Search Console account for your website because it will flag any error pages across your website that need fixing or need your attention particularly 404 errors. It will highlight those as it crawls your website to understand if links are broken or not. Be sure to install it. Finally, the last type of response code you should be aware of as an SEO is the 500 series response codes.
Now, these are the biggies because what it means essentially is with 500 response codes, there is an issue with your web server, your website might be down. This is quite a big one because if your website is down, Google can’t crawl it. You need to fix a 500 error response code as soon as you can. There are a ton of 500 series response codes out there. They’re going across the screen now. There are a number of reasons your website might not return results or the expected results and it’s broken or it’s down.
Be sure if you’re not web savvy yourself and can’t fix the issue yourself, get in contact with your web designer as soon as possible if it’s a persistent issue and make sure you get these fixed because they will negatively impact your SEO if you have a lot of downtime for your website. With a 500 series error, be sure to get them fixed quickly.
Now, you guys have a great understanding of the different types of error page and the impact they have on SEO and be sure to give the right response codes for users going to your website and make sure that the journey is as smooth as possible and you fix any issues that may arise as well and you’re confident in doing that as well.
Thank you guys so much for watching this video. If you liked it, leave a like below. Let me know in the comments what your thoughts are on finding and identifying response codes. I reply to every single comment I get so please be sure to hit me up in the comments. More important than that, don’t forget to subscribe. Check out the other content on my channel and I’ll see you guys on my next video.