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SEO tips for a better website experience

What are HTTP status codes?

If you’re a digital marketer, a business owner driving traffic to your website, or have ever shopped online, you’ve probably seen the “200 = success” code for a live webpage, or the dreaded “404 = not found” for an out-of-stock product.

But, what does a 401 code mean? What’s the difference between a 301 and 302 redirect, and what impact can these codes have on your browsing experience or ecommerce bottom line?
Don’t worry – today is the day when it all makes sense.
We’ll explain HTTP status codes and why they’re important to keep an eye on for your website.


HTTP status codes are three-digit numbers that show search engine crawlers and users the status of a webpage.

If you own or look after a website, familiarising yourself with the most common HTTP status codes is a great idea. That way, you can quickly recognise crucial website performance errors and remedy them to maintain a responsive, positive user experience. Google and your customers will love you for it!


^Hypertext Transfer Protocol: the rules for transferring files across the web.

“status codes”

^codes issued by a server to show if an HTTP request has been  completed successfully… or not.

Why do I need to learn about HTTP codes?

They’re crucial for ensuring your website’s performance and accessibility.

When you know and audit these codes…

…you can ensure your website is accessible to both users and search engine crawlers.

Why is secure HTTPs protocol “strongly recommended” by Google?

HTTPS helps protect your customers’ privacy on your website. Ensuring your site is indexable and secure helps to positively impact your website’s search engine rankings and visibility.

Starting with “1”


Starting with “2”


Starting with “3”


Starting with “4”

Client error

Starting with “5”

Server error

The 5 classes of HTTP status codes

The most common HTTP status codes you’ll likely come across are the 404 Not Found and the 200 OK status codes. 404 Not Found indicates that the requested page or resource could not be found on the server. The 200 OK status code, on the other hand, indicates that the requested page or resource was successfully found and loaded by the server.

How status codes can impact website performance

A 404 Not Found status code means the user reaches a dead end. This can discourage the users and make them not want to continue browsing. A website with a high number of 404 Not Found errors could indicate that it’s not being properly maintained and updated.

Codes that indicate errors with performance and accessibility:

Let’s talk about “server-side” vs “client-side” errors – the difference is where each error originates. Server-side errors are caused by issues on the server that is hosting the website, while client-side errors are caused by issues on the client or user side of the interaction. Once you can easily spot these common errors, you can fix them to ensure your website is accessible and performing optimally.

Server-side means the website has a problem

Server-side errors occur when there’s an issue with the server that’s hosting the website. These errors are typically indicated by HTTP status codes in the 500 range, such as the 500 Internal Server Error.
Think of server-side errors as problems on the website’s “home turf” – here are some example causes:

  • Issues with the server software
  • Faulty database connections
  • Server-side coding errors

Client-side means the user or client has a problem

On the other hand, client-side errors happen when there’s an issue with the client or user accessing the website. HTTP status codes in the 400 range, such as the 404 Not Found status code, indicate a client-side error. Potential causes include:

  • When the user mistypes the URL
  • Browser or device issues
  • The user has clicked a broken link

Remember, keeping your website running smoothly is crucial to providing a positive user experience. So, stay on top of those HTTP status codes!

How to audit and monitor HTTP status codes for your website

Still unsure about HTTP status codes? By staying informed and monitoring these codes, you can ensure that your website provides a positive user experience.

Search Console is a great free tool provided by Google to help identify issues that are negatively impacting your website’s performance and accessibility. Once you have a Google Search Console account set up, check out the left-hand toolbar and visit Indexing > Pages and scroll down to view the “Why pages aren’t indexed” report. Here, you’ll see pages that cannot rank on Google, grouped by error type — including “Not found (404)” errors and Server errors. You can click on any of the groups to see the exact URLs that affected, and from here, validate which are the most important pages to your business that should be fixed first. Once you’ve completed your fix — e.g. redirected all broken 404 pages to an equivalent live page — you can revisit the error report in Search Console and click the “Validate Fix” button to ask Google to check the updated pages.

Get in touch with Search Republic today.

Need help with auditing HTTP errors? We can adapt raw data from SEO tools such as Ahrefs and transform it into clear, concise instructions for your web developer team. Or, if you’re short on time, we can liaise with your team for access to your CMS and implement our recommended fixes directly. Contact us for any questions – we look forward to hearing from you.

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