The influence of status codes on SEO

HTTP status codes are essential for understanding the interactions between Web clients (such as browsers) and servers. These status codes are categorized into different ranges and provide vital information about the outcome of HTTP requests. From success reports (2xx) and redirects (3xx) to client errors (4xx) and server errors (5xx), each status code has a specific meaning. These affect both user experience and SEO.

Web developers, Web site administrators, and SEO specialists should have adequate knowledge of these codes because they provide insight into the performance, accessibility, and overall health of a Web site.

HTTP status codes within the range of 100

HTTP status codes within the range of 100 are informative responses indicating that the initial request was received and is also being processed. These codes are essential for communication between a Web server and a client.

Status codes help optimize client-server interaction. This occurs mainly during connection establishment or preparing the client to receive additional data.

HTTP status codeDescriptionPotential impact on user experiencePossible impact on SEO
100ContinuousIndicates that the initial parts of a request have been received and the client can proceed with the rest of the request. This makes the connection process more efficient.Does not usually affect SEO directly. It is only a temporary and technical interaction between client and server.
101Switching ProtocolsUsed when the server agrees to change the communication protocol at the client’s request. This may be relevant for Web applications that require real-time communication or protocols other than HTTP.This has no direct impact on SEO. It is more relevant to website functionality and user experience.
102Processing (WebDAV)Indicates that the server has received and processed the request, but does not yet have a response ready. It can be especially useful for complex actions that require more time to complete.Not directly relevant to SEO, but can affect user experience if processing time is long. This directly affects SEO performance.
103Early HintsUsed to send preliminary headers before the server has prepared the full response headers. It can improve page load times by loading resources earlier.Can have a positive impact on SEO through faster load times. This is an important factor in search engine ranking algorithms.
Status codes within 1xx and impact on SEO.

The above status codes are very technical and usually not directly visible to end users. Status codes are primarily used to optimize communication between the client and the server. This can indirectly affect user experience and SEO.

The influence of status codes on SEO (video)

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The influence of status codes on SEO (video).

HTTP status codes within the range of 200

HTTP status codes in the range of 200 are often very successful. These codes indicate that the action requested by the client was successfully processed by the server. This contributes to a positive user experience.

These status codes are also crucial for SEO. They help search engines understand that a page or resource is being delivered correctly and effectively.

HTTP status codeDescriptionPotential impact on user experiencePossible impact on SEO
200OKConfirms that the request was executed successfully. This ensures a seamless user experience.Positive for SEO; it indicates that a page works correctly and is accessible.
201CreatedIndicates that a new resource has been created as a result of the request. This is important for actions such as uploading or creating content.Can be positive for SEO as it relates to the creation of new and valuable content.
202AcceptedIndicates that the request has been accepted for processing. However, the processing is not yet complete. This can be important for asynchronous processing.Has little direct impact on SEO, but may indicate effective server processing.
203Non-authorized informationThe response contains information from a third party; not from the original server.Can cause confusion for users, but usually has little direct impact on SEO.
204No contentIndicates that the request was successful, but there is no content to send for the response. Useful in APIs and AJAX requests.Does not directly affect SEO; there is no content is to index.
205Resetting contentIndicates that the client should reset the display of documents. Used in forms and interactive applications.Has little direct impact on SEO, but can improve user experience.
206Partial contentUsed when serving partial content, such as video streaming or large downloads.Can be positive for SEO in terms of efficient content delivery, especially for large files.
207Multiple statusesUsed in WebDAV; indicates multiple status codes, useful for batch operations.Is specific to WebDAV and usually has no direct impact on SEO.
Status codes within 2xx and the impact on SEO.

The 2xx status codes provide a good indication of successful interactions between the client and the server. These codes are essential for a good user experience. Moreover, they have positive implications for SEO. A major benefit is that they confirm that content is effectively delivered and accessible.

HTTP status codes within the range of 300

HTTP status codes in the range of 300 include redirects. These codes indicate that the client should be redirected to another URL to obtain the requested resource.

These redirects are an essential part of web navigation. They affect user experience and SEO. Detour are used to change the location of a resource or balance load between servers, among other things. They also enforce the use of HTTPS.

HTTP status codeDescriptionPotential impact on user experiencePossible impact on SEO
300Multiple ChoiceOffers the user a choice of links. This can lead to confusion.Used infrequently. It can affect SEO if search engines have to choose the right link.
301Definitely movedThe URL has been permanently moved; users are being redirected.Is very important for SEO. It transfers link authority to the new URL.
302FoundTemporary rerouting; the original URL will be retained.Can be confusing for SEO if overused. It is sometimes treated as a 301.
303See otherRefers to another URI for a GET request, useful after form submissions.Has little direct impact on SEO but improves user experience in interactive actions.
304UnchangedIndicates that the content has not changed since the last request.Reduces bandwidth usage and improves loading speed. This is positive for SEO.
305Use ProxyInstructions to use a proxy; rarely used due to security concerns.Has little to no use in practice and therefore minimal SEO impact.
306(Reserved)Not currently in use. It is reserved for future use.No impact on current user experience or SEO.
307Temporary detourIt is similar to 302, but with the guarantee that the method does not change.It is useful for temporary changes; has less impact on SEO than a 301.
308Final detourIt is similar to 301, but with the guarantee that the method does not change.It is important for SEO, similar to a 301 in terms of transferring link authority.
Status codes within 3xx and the impact on SEO.

To manage changes in the structure of a Web site and ensure a good user experience, redirection codes are of great importance. Moreover, they have significant implications for SEO. This is especially in maintaining link authority and ensuring content accessibility. The most common HTTP status codes within the range of 400

The most common HTTP status codes within the range of 400

HTTP status codes in the 400 range often indicate client errors. These errors often occur because the user made the wrong request. Client-setup problems also cause requests. These problems include an incorrectly typed URL or a request to access a secure or nonexistent resource.

HTTP status codeDescriptionPotential impact on user experiencePossible impact on SEO
400Wrong applicationIndicates poorly worded application, may cause confusion.Negative, indicates problems with application wording.
401Not authorizedRequires authentication; access is denied without valid credentials.Limited impact unless common on public pages.
403Prohibited accessAccess to the requested resource is prohibited regardless of authentication.Negative, especially if legitimate content is inaccessible.
404Not foundThe requested resource does not exist; one of the most common errors.Strongly negative, significantly affects user experience and SEO.
405Method not allowedThe request method is not supported by the requested resource.Moderate impact, may indicate configuration problems.
429Too many requestsThe user made too many requests in a given time period.May be negative for SEO if over-represented.
Status codes within 4xx and the impact on SEO.

These types of status codes are important for both Web site administrators and end users. They offer essential feedback on web content access issues. These codes also have a major impact on SEO optimization. They point out problems that affect a website’s findability and user experience.

HTTP status codes within the range of 500

HTTP status codes in the range of 500 contain server errors. These errors occur when something goes wrong on the server side. So the client’s request is correct, but the server failed to process it. This can have a variety of causes.

These status codes are important for Web developers and Web site administrators. They indicate problems with server performance, server configuration or unexpected backend errors. Moreover, they are very important for user experience and SEO; frequent server failures lead to decreased reliability and visibility of a website.

HTTP status codeDescriptionPotential impact on user experiencePossible impact on SEO
500Internal server errorIndicates a general error. This can be frustrating for users.Very negative, indicates serious server problems.
501Not implementedThe server does not support the requested function; rare.Negative. It indicates server limitations.
502Bad GatewayAn incorrect response was received from another server.Negative. It indicates problems with gateway servers.
503Service not availableThe server is temporarily unavailable. This is often due to maintenance.Negative. This happens especially when it occurs frequently or for long periods of time.
504Gateway TimeoutThe server took too long to respond.Negative. This indicates network or communication problems.
505HTTP version is not supportedThe server does not support the HTTP version of the request.Limited impact, but may indicate configuration problems.
509Bandwidth exceededUnofficial; indicates that the bandwidth limit has been exceeded.Negative. This may indicate insufficient server resources.
510Not extendedThe server needs further extensions to satisfy the request.Moderate impact, rare in use.
511Network authentication requiredRequires network authentication to access the resource.Limited SEO impact unless frequent.
521-526Cloudflare specific errorsSpecific to Cloudflare; indicate various problems with Cloudflare’s server or network.Variable. This depends on the specific error.
Status codes within 5xx and the impact on SEO.

5xx status codes accurately indicate the health and reliability of a server. It is critical to manage these errors properly. To reduce the impact of these errors, it is important to monitor regularly and adjust any errors.

Summary

HTTP status codes are essential for proper communication between clients and servers. Not only do they provide insight into the status of web requests; they also have a strong impact on user experience and SEO. Prioritize this task in the SEO roadmap.

Make sure the codes are interpreted correctly. This requires some technical knowledge.

Pay attention to status codes to ensure better overall website performance. Overall online presence will also increase.

Senior SEO-specialist

Ralf van Veen

Senior SEO-specialist
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This article was originally published on 27 March 2024. The last update of this article was on 27 March 2024. The content of this page was written and approved by Ralf van Veen. Learn more about the creation of my articles in my editorial guidelines.