The ultimate guide to HTTP status codes and headers for SEO

In the client-server architecture of the World Wide Web, the interaction between browsers and websites is handled through the hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP). This protocol was introduced in 1991 and is an official web standard. Almost all traffic on the web is handled through HTTP.

When search engine spiders like Googlebot crawl a website, they behave like browsers requesting web pages from a site and rely on HTTP for this exchange. This is why it’s important for search engine optimization specialists (SEOs) to understand how the HTTP protocol works and the impact it has on search engines’ crawling and indexing of web pages. In this column, I’ll explain everything you need to know.

But first, let me tell you about the tools you’ll need to perform the necessary tests on your site. Google Chrome DevTools allows you to view a uniform resource locator (URL) full HTTP response, but it can be cumbersome to view. I prefer using the Ayima Page Insights and Ayima Redirect Path Chrome plugins to show me a URL’s full HTTP response.

Using the Ayima Page Insights plugin in Chrome, this is what an HTTP response looks like:

Another tool that does the same job isLive HTTP Headers for Chrome.


[Read the full article on Search Engine Land.]

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Barry Adams, Founder of Polemic Digital,  is an award-winning SEO consultant specializing in technical SEO for news publishers and e-commerce websites. He’s been active in SEO since 1998 and has worked with a wide range of clients from micro-businesses to the world’s largest media companies. Barry enjoys sharing his knowledge and experience with the industry; he regularly speaks at digital conferences around the world, delivers annual guest lectures for several universities, and is the chief editor at popular European marketing blog State of Digital.

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