How are you optimizing your site for increased organic traffic?
You can update your content, add new pages, and build a complex web of internal linking, but you could still be missing a huge area of opportunity for optimization.
Compliance is everything. When a crawler like Googlebot gets to your site, what does it find? Does it request each page and your server seamlessly returns a 200 OK status code? What about 3XX redirects or, even worse, 4XX and 5XX errors?
There are 4 basic criteria a URL should meet to be considered “compliant”:
Non-compliant pages can be a huge drain on your potential SEO traffic generation. HTTP status codes are an excellent indicator of your site’s compliance, as HTTP errors result in negative impacts on both user experience for your potential site visitors and customers, as well as for your ranking with Google and its ilk.
In fact, for large and complex websites, non-compliant pages could represent an enormous proportion of the site, resulting in wasted crawl budget and negative impacts on site perception by picky search engines like Google.
And beyond overt errors, redirects are a whole other can of worms. Although Google recently came out and officially stated that 301 or other 3XX redirects no longer cost you PageRank, there are still important SEO reasons to fix these non-compliant pages.
Fixing and removing HTTP errors like 4XX and 5XX status codes is critical to your site’s success, and should be one of your first steps in SEO.
When search engine crawlers like Googlebot encounter a page that returns an error, it is wasting Google’s precious (and limited) crawl budget resources when it could be crawling other, more important pages. It also sends a signal to Google that maybe your site isn’t so high quality after all. As these errors add up, your site’s value goes down.
What should you fix right now, right this second, and what can wait a bit? Plain errors – especially on pages with important content – require immediate attention to stop losing out on the value of those pages and the bad user experience they’re causing. Other reasons for non-compliance can vary, and fall elsewhere in your to-do list depending on the importance of those pages and the cause of the HTTP status.
Use this guide to prioritize your non-compliant pages:
Take action if there is a large number or proportion of these pages:
Do these critical status code issues sound familiar? Find out how to correct HTTP errors here, according to the cause of non-compliance.
Regardless of the reason behind non-compliance, it’s important to address the causes and remove 3XX redirects, 4XX and 5XX errors in order to make the most of Google’s limited time exploring your site so your most valuable pages get seen quickly and efficiently.
When your pages aren’t returning 200 OK status codes, it’s time to dig into the reasons why – and prioritize their improvement. Non-compliant pages can have significant impacts on your SEO by lowering the apparent quality of your website in the eyes of search engines and hindering efficient exploration of compliant, important pages.
When you make site changes to fix or remove HTTP status code errors or redirects, you’ll soon see real results in the form of more pages crawled, more valuable pages crawled, and more organic traffic flowing into your site. And, presumably, you’ll see increased revenue as a result.
The proof, as they say, will be in the pudding.
Don’t believe us? Try Botify and see for yourself how you can drive traffic and revenue, starting with HTTP status codes.