What are Status Codes?
When dealing with networking, status codes are a response to a request from the server. When the server returns a status 200 to the request, it means that the page or file was found and returned.
Other status codes exist and have different meanings. Here is a list of the most common status codes for search engine optimisation.
- Status 200 – OK
- Status 301 – Permanent Redirect
- Status 302 – Temporary Redirect
- Status 307 – Temporary redirect and maintain request method.
- Status 308 – Permanent redirect and maintain request method.
- Status 404 – Missing Page
- Status 410 – Permanently Removed
How can I check my Status Codes?
You can check your status code by using the console when using Google Chrome. To do this, you can use one of the following two shortcuts:
- Ctrl + Shift + I for Windows
- CMD + Shift + I for Macintosh
When you open this window, you will need to select the network tab and reload the page. Once you’ve done that you can see the status code for file loaded by the browser:
If you would like to check the status codes for lots of pages at the same time; use a tool such as Screaming Frog to review the whole website.
This tool will allow you to check the status code for multiple pages at the same time. Once you’ve found pages that are returning the wrong status codes you can change these quickly and easily.
Another great tool to help you check status codes on the fly is the Ayima Redirect Path. Instead of using the console to check each page this tool returns the status code of your page.
This tool is excellent for checking redirects and the status of the page. However, this tool lacks the detail found in Chrome’s console.
How can I improve my Status Codes?
Each status code has an appropriate meaning, so the best way to improve status codes is to return the proper status code for that resource. However, within search engine optimisation there are some other things to consider.
When a website is using an SSL Certificate to encrypt their website’s connection, it’s important to redirect non-encrypted connections. Since this is a permanent move and so the appropriate status code is a 301 permanent redirect.
However, recently many analysts are choosing to use the Strict Transport System (HSTS) header. This protocol is an HTTP header that uses a 301 permanent redirect and tells the browser to cache this redirect temporarily. The response for most tools appear as a 307 temporary redirect but is first a 301 permanent redirect.