HyperText Transfer Protocol, or HTTP codes and redirects are absolutely important for marketers. If used in an effective and efficient manner, they add value to your marketing and SEO efforts. In essence, HTTP codes and redirects are messages from a web server that is added to a web page. They are not part of a web page, but they are important server messages, according to Lifewire.
What are HTTP Codes and Redirects Really?
HTTP codes and redirects indicate how your request to access a web page went, and they occur every time you click or type in a website link. Once the server receives your request to access a web page, it processes the request, and allows you access it an HTTP header for that page. This simply happens behind the scenes.
However, if the server finds an issue with your request, you will be directed to an HTTP code instead of to the page you requested access to. Knowing how to identify and locate these errors is essential for marketers.
“The Crawl Errors report for websites provides details about the site URLs that Google could not successfully crawl or that returned an HTTP error code,” explains Google support.
What each HTTP code and redirect class tells you?
Using specific HTTP redirects like 301 redirects and Rel canonical tags can benefit your SEO efforts as a marketer. Identifying status codes in the 400 and 500 classes allow you to troubleshoot site configuration errors, and stay clear of Google Panda penalties.
These five classes of HTTP codes and redirects are certainly worth exploring:
- This class tells you the message from the server that your browser requested is still processing and ongoing.
- They let you know that your request was received, processed, and successful.
- These redirect codes are sent by the server to indicate that a new resource was submitted, replacing the web page initially requested.
- These status codes are errors, indicating an issue with your request to access a web page.
- This tells you that your request to access a web page was successful, but there is a server problem.
HTTP code and redirect tips for marketers
Marketers should have a plan to deal with HTTP code errors, and how to effectively use redirects. Below are a few HTTP code and redirect tips for savvy marketers:
- Use a 301 redirect to move your inbound links and page history from one URL to another.
- Use a 302 redirect to temporarily redirect visitors (not bots) while doing site maintenance.
- Use a Rel canonical tag to temporarily redirect bots (not visitors). This allows for duplicate content users without becoming Google Panda food too.
- Manually review 404 errors to troubleshoot the issue.
- Lasting 404 errors should be 301 redirected.
- A Rel canonical tag can save a 404 page from becoming Google Panda food as well.
- 500 and 503 errors are server issues.
Employing and troubleshooting HTTP codes and redirects is simple after a bit of practice. This infographic serves as your guide to maximizing marketing efforts using HTTP codes and redirects.
About the Author: Nick Rojas is an experienced business consultant and writer who has consulted small and medium-sized enterprises for over twenty years and has contributed articles to Visual.ly, Entrepreneur, and TechCrunch. Follow Nick on Twitter and LinkedIn.