SEO Glossary / HTTP 200 Response Code

HTTP 200 Response Code

What is a 200 Status Code?

The HTTP 200 OK is the status response code from a server indicating successful HTTP requests from a client (browser). For a web page, it means that its HTML code can be loaded successfully.

Web browsers use HTTP requests to communicate with servers. These requests consist of:

  • A specific URL to locate the target server and resource.
  • The request method (GET, POST, etc.).
  • Additional information such as URL parameters or client-side cookies.

For instance, when you accessed this page, your browser made a GET request to the URL, to which the server responded with a 200 OK.

Why is the 200 Status Code Important?

The 200 response code is important for your website because it means that users can access your pages without any trouble. Additionally, the 200 response code indicates that search engine crawlers can access your pages and links on them. Thus, your pages can be indexed and pass the PageRank to the linked pages.

Ideally, you’d want your server to respond with 200 OK status for the maximum number of pages on your website. However, there can be some exceptions.

SEO Best Practices for HTTP Status Codes

As mentioned earlier, your server may not respond with an HTTP 200 OK status for all the requests. For instance, if you’ve redirected or removed some pages, the server will return a 301(302) or 404(410) status code. And that should be okay.

But sometimes, there can be issues with your web pages beyond your awareness, and the server might be responding with error status codes. If these are important pages that should have a 200 response code instead, you need to fix the errors.

We recommend conducting a periodic site audit with tools like Ranktracker’s Web Audit. It’ll crawl all the pages on your site and show the server response code for each page.

Then you can analyze the pages that return HTTP status codes different from 200 OK. Not every page that returns a response code other than 200 requires your attention, but here are some cases you must address:

1. Excessive Redirects

It’s okay to have legitimate redirects on your site in cases like moving a page permanently or site migration. But having unnecessary redirects is a bad SEO practice. It can slow down the loading speed of your webpages.

So use redirects wisely. For instance, instead of linking to a page that is 301 redirected to another URL, link to the destination page directly to reduce page loading time.

2. Redirect Chains

A redirect chain is a series of two or more redirects between the requested URL and the destination URL. Although Googlebot can follow up to 10 redirect hops, we recommend you avoid using long redirect chains. Redirect chains can slow down the page speed, leading to a negative user experience.

Audit your website with tools like Ranktracker’s SERP Checker to identify and correct redirect chain issues.

3. Broken Pages

While it’s normal to have broken pages (404 or 410) on your site, you should analyze these pages to see if they deserve to be converted to 200 OK pages.

For example, if you have a few broken 404 pages on your site that have high-quality backlinks, the valuable PageRank is being wasted. In such cases, you can redirect these pages to similar, relevant pages on your website to restore the PageRank flow from the broken pages to other important pages.

You can identify broken pages easily with tools like Ranktracker’s Web Audit.

Conclusion

Maintaining a healthy number of HTTP 200 OK responses on your site is crucial for ensuring accessibility for users and search engines. Regularly auditing your site for issues like excessive redirects, redirect chains, and broken pages can help maintain optimal performance and SEO benefits.

FAQs

What Does a 200 Status Code Mean?

A 200 status code means that the server successfully processed the request and the browser received the requested resource.

Why Are HTTP Status Codes Important for SEO?

HTTP status codes inform search engines about the status of web pages, affecting crawling, indexing, and ranking. Properly managing these codes ensures optimal search engine performance.

How Can I Check My Site’s HTTP Status Codes?

You can check your site’s HTTP status codes using tools like Ranktracker’s Web Audit, which will crawl your site and report the status codes for each page.