HTTP Status Codes and their impact on SEO Rankings

Clock 5th October 2023 by Rob Randell

error 404 http status code

From a search engine optimization (SEO) perspective, there are numerous factors that contribute to the successful ranking of a website. One often overlooked aspect is the understanding and management of HTTP status codes. These status codes play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy and functional website. Their role also includes ensuring a positive user experience and hopefully a positive impact on SEO rankings. In this article, we will delve into the significance of HTTP status codes and their profound influence on SEO.

What are HTTP Status Codes?

HTTP status codes are three-digit numbers that indicate the status of a particular web page or resource. They are part of the HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP), the underlying protocol of the World Wide Web. These codes are generated by web servers to communicate with web browsers. Thus, providing information about the success or failure of a requested webpage or other resource.

For a full list of these status codes and their meanings, refer to this page.

The Role of HTTP Status Codes in SEO
  • User Experience and Engagement: these status codes are instrumental in maintaining a positive user experience on your website. When a user encounters an error, such as the famous ‘404 Not Found’ error, it can be frustrating and diminishes their overall experience. A website that consistently delivers error-free pages fosters trust and encourages users to engage, explore, and spend more time on the site. Consequently, positive user engagement metrics, such as low bounce rates and high session durations, are key factors in SEO rankings
frustrated user encountering an website error
Common HTTP Status Codes and Their Impact
google analytics dashboard
  • 404 Not Found, the most well-known web error code. A ‘404 Not Found’ occurs when a requested resource cannot be found on the server. This code can arise from broken links, deleted pages, or mistyped URLs. Failing to handle 404 errors appropriately can lead to negative user experiences and lost opportunities for engagement. Implementing custom 404 pages that offer helpful navigation and redirecting broken links to relevant content mitigates the impact on SEO
Understanding and managing HTTP Status Codes

HTTP Status Codes may seem like technical jargon, but their impact on SEO rankings is undeniable. By understanding and effectively managing the better-known HTTP Status Codes, website owners, web developers and SEO practitioners can enhance user experiences.

In short, HTTP status codes play a critical role in SEO by shaping user experiences, aiding search engine crawlability, preserving link equity and ultimately impacting website rankings.

Using Google Search Console and performing technical SEO audits via tools such as SEMRush, can help you uncover broken links and other problems. Embracing the significance of web status codes as part of your SEO strategy is a wise investment towards achieving online success.

Need help with improving your website’s SEO rankings to help your business stand out from the crowd? We have the expertise and we would love to help you.