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HTTP Status Codes For SEO Made Easy


Upon each website access, a request is sent by your browser to the web server, which subsequently responds by sending a message in the form of HTTP status codes. These codes serve as a conduit of communication between web servers and browsers, unraveling critical information regarding the state of your website. Our guide seeks to illuminate the comprehensive list of HTTP status codes alongside their implications for your website.

HTTP Status Codes and SEO

The perpetual debate within the SEO community surrounding the weight of HTTP status codes on search engine optimization remains unceasing. While some assert the codes’ pivotal role in ranking, others dismiss their significance altogether. Nevertheless, the truth remains shrouded in ambiguity. Yet, intriguing evidence suggests that certain status codes might influence your website’s SEO. A Moz study revealed that pages bearing a 404 error were less likely to rank when compared to those flaunting a 200 OK status code.

Notwithstanding the enduring debate, HTTP status codes assume a crucial role in website management. Through a meticulous grasp of the diverse codes and their implications, you can decipher errors and enhance your website’s holistic wellness.

Why Are HTTP Status Codes Important?

HTTP status codes play a pivotal role in web communication, embodying the twin virtues of accessibility and response clarity. In essence, these codes can provide a valuable glimpse into the server’s condition, while helping you troubleshoot any web traffic-related issues.

By analyzing the status codes, you can unlock the hidden treasures of web traffic data. Whether it’s a 404 error resulting from a broken link or a typo in the URL, or a 500 error pointing to a technical issue with the server, the status codes can be an effective diagnostic tool to help you fix these problems.

In fact, understanding status codes is so vital that it can determine the success or failure of your website, as well as its SEO. A website that’s inaccessible due to broken links or missing pages can lead to an unsatisfactory user experience. On the other hand, a website that’s plagued with 500 errors will make visitors frustrated and drive them away.

Therefore, it’s essential to prioritize the prompt resolution of these errors, while keeping an eye on any emerging issues to prevent potential disasters from brewing. With an intricate understanding of the perplexing nature of status codes and their bursty variations, you can take your web communication to the next level.

List of HTTP Status Codes

http status codes

Having gotten a grip on the fundamentals of HTTP status codes, it’s now time to delve into the most ubiquitous ones you’re likely to encounter.

200 OK

Leading the pack is the 200 OK status code. This particular code stands tall as the most commonplace code you’ll come across. Its prominence stems from its role in signifying the fulfillment of a request by the server, thereby validating the functionality of the page. As you browse the web, this code looms large, populating most websites you visit.

201 Created

The 201 Created status code indicates that the request was successful and that a new resource was created. This is usually the code you’ll see when you submit a form or make a POST request.

202 Accepted

The 202 Accepted status code means that the request has been received but hasn’t been processed yet. This is usually used for long-running tasks such as file uploads or video conversions.

203 Non-Authoritative Information

The 203 Non-Authoritative Information status code indicates that the server was able to fulfill the request but is returning information from a different source. This is often used for caching purposes.

204 No Content

The 204 No Content status code means that the server was able to fulfill the request but there is no content to return. This is often used for DELETE requests.

301 Moved Permanently

The 301 Moved Permanently status code indicates that the page has been permanently moved to a new location. This is usually used when a website changes domains or implements a new URL structure. When this happens, you’ll need to set up a redirect from the old page to the new one.

302 Found

The 302 Found status code is similar to 301, but it indicates that the move is only temporary. This is often used for maintenance purposes. When a website is down for maintenance, it will usually return a 302 status code.

303 See Other

The 303 See Other status code indicates that the page has been moved to a different URL. This is usually used in conjunction with a redirect.

304 Not Modified

The 304 Not Modified status code means that the page hasn’t been modified since the last time it was requested. This is often used for caching purposes.

307 Temporary Redirect

The 307 Temporary Redirect status code is similar to 302, but it indicates that the redirect is only temporary. This is often used for maintenance purposes.

400 Bad Request

The 400 Bad Request status code means that the server couldn’t understand the request. This is usually due to a malformed URL or an invalid parameter.

401 Unauthorized

The 401 Unauthorized status code means that the page requires a valid username and password. This is usually used for password-protected pages.

403 Forbidden

The 403 Forbidden status code means that the server is refusing to fulfill the request. This could be due to several reasons, such as a lack of permission.

404 Not Found

404 Not Found code abruptly pops up when the page can’t be found. This frustrating occurrence is commonly triggered by a typo in the URL or a broken link, leaving users flustered and perplexed.

500 Internal Server Error

500 Internal Server Error code hints at an error on the server, impeding the page’s successful loading. This unwelcome and disruptive code is frequently the result of server-side problems, leaving users at their wit’s end.

503 Service Unavailable

And finally, 503 Service Unavailable code signifies that the server is temporarily down. Often reserved for maintenance purposes, this code signals a temporary cessation of services, causing a frenzied scramble to restore normalcy.

How To Identify A Response Code

Unraveling the intricacies of HTTP response codes can be a perplexing journey, especially for the uninitiated. Nonetheless, there are various methods available to help you make sense of this seemingly daunting task.

One of these methods involves scrutinizing the URL of the page you’re attempting to access. If the URL culminates in .html or .htm, chances are the page will return a 200 status code. Conversely, if the URL concludes in .php or .asp, the page will likely return a 500 status code.

Alternatively, if you’re comfortable delving into the source code of the page, you can easily determine the HTTP response code by right-clicking on the page and selecting View Page Source. Once you’ve perused the source code, keep an eye out for the “HTTP/1.1” line followed by a numerical code, which indicates the HTTP status code.

In the event that you’re still grappling with the challenge of identifying the HTTP response code, fear not! You can leverage cutting-edge tools like Google Chrome’s Developer Tools to dissect and scrutinize the network tab, where you can view all the HTTP requests being made and their respective status codes.

With these methods at your disposal, you’ll be able to navigate the labyrinthine world of HTTP response codes with ease, tapping into their multifarious benefits to improve your web experience.

Testing Status Code

If your goal is to examine the status code of a particular webpage, fret not! There exists a handy dandy tool at your disposal: the URL command-line tool. All you need to do is punch in the following command into your terminal:

curl -I http://www.example.com/

Subsequently, you will be treated to an extensive catalogue of headers proffered by the server. Amongst these headers, you’ll discover the elusive HTTP status code you so fervently seek.

How To Fix HTTP Status Codes?

Once the HTTP status code has been identified, it is then possible to begin troubleshooting the issue at hand. In order to remedy the common status codes that may arise, there are a plethora of tips and tricks that one can utilize.

400 Bad Request: Scrutinize the URL for any possible typographical errors, whilst also ensuring that all parameters are unequivocally valid.

401 Unauthorized: Verify that the appropriate username and password have been employed, lest one be thwarted by an invalid login attempt.

403 Forbidden: Check the permissions on the server are correct, and that the requisite access has been granted, lest they be denied the ability to access the server.

404 Not Found: Check the URL for typos and make sure all links are working.

500 Internal Server Error: Contact the hosting provider or website administrator.

503 Service Unavailable: Contact the hosting provider or website administrator.

Bonus tip: One way to diagnose site errors and minimize their impact on the SERPs is by using an SEO crawler and you can also contact our SEO subject matter experts at 12 Channels for help fixing HTTP status code errors.

Returning The Correct Status Code Using Frameworks

Although there are many different HTTP status codes, you’ll only need to worry about a few of them for SEO purposes. The most important ones are 200, 301, 302, and 404.

The 200 status code is the most common one you’ll see. It indicates that the server was able to fulfill the request and that the page is working as intended.

The 301 and 302 status codes are used for redirects. A 301 redirect indicates that the page has been permanently moved to a new location, while a 302 redirect indicates that the move is only temporary.

The 404 status code indicates that the page can’t be found. This is usually due to a broken link or a typographical error in the URL.

Cwhen troubleshooting, do not forget to check the HTTP status codes to know what the problem is. By understanding the different HTTP status codes and their meanings, you can improve your website’s ranking and avoid potential problems.

You can set the status code within various frameworks such as Sinatra, Django, or Ruby on rails. While we will only mention a few methods in this article, you can always leave a comment to get us updated on your favorite framework.

Using Sinatra to return the code to the correct status

get ‘/foo’ do

status 200

headers “Content-Type” => “text/html”

body “<h1>Foo</h1>”


Using Django to return the code to the correct status

def my_view(request):

response = HttpResponse()

response.status_code = 200

return response

Using Ruby on Rails to return the code to the correct status

def show

respond_to do |format|

format.html { render :status => 200 }



Peruse this comprehensive manual on HTTP status codes, a veritable treasure trove of information tailor-made for SEO aficionados seeking to optimize their online content. It’s worth noting that the following are merely a sampling of the triumvirate of frameworks that govern HTTP status codes.

If you have any queries or comments, we implore you to share them in the comment section below, where our knowledgeable experts are poised to respond with alacrity.


The role of HTTP status codes in SEO cannot be overstated. By comprehensively grasping the manifold codes and their intricate meanings, one can commence the arduous task of troubleshooting any and all errors that may arise, whilst simultaneously enhancing their website’s ranking. Thus, in this all-encompassing guide, we have meticulously provided an exhaustive list of all the HTTP status codes, leaving no stone unturned as we delve into the intricacies of what each code signifies for your website.

However, should you find yourself at a loss for where to begin, fear not, for 12Channels is a distinguished digital marketing agency that specializes in the ever-evolving field of SEO. We pride ourselves on our unwavering commitment to providing top-notch services, and are always eager to assist you in any way possible as you navigate the treacherous waters of error resolution and search engine optimization. Feel free to contact us at your earliest convenience for a no-obligation consultation, as we stand ready and willing to aid you in your quest for SEO excellence.

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