In web development and SEO, status codes are crucial indicators of how a server responds to a request made by a browser. These are three-digit HTTP response codes sent from a server to a web browser, indicating the outcome of the request for a particular URL. They serve as feedback mechanisms, letting the requesting party know if everything went smoothly if there was a redirection, or if there was an error.
From an SEO perspective, understanding status codes is paramount. For instance, a ‘200’ status code means the request was successful and the server provided the expected response. On the other hand, a ‘404’ status code indicates that the requested page wasn’t found, which can be detrimental to user experience and SEO.
Another common code is ‘301’, indicating that the requested page has been permanently moved to a new location and signals search engines to transfer the old page’s authority to the new one. More than properly handled status codes, such as soft 404s or unnecessary redirects, can lead to SEO issues like lost traffic, decreased authority, or wasted crawl budget.