When a request is made to your server for a page on your web site, for instance, when a user visits your page in a browser, your server will return an HTTP status code in response. The code provides information about the status of the request and gives Google’s search robot Googlebot information about your site and the requested page.
Numbers that often occur when discussing these matters are 301 and 404 – below is a description of some of the most common HTTP status codes.
Beyond optimizing the content of a website – such as headlines, page names and keywords – the off-site SEO has pronounced effect on how search engines rank your site. We have put together a short guide around HTTP status codes and Google PageRank.
The status code 301 means that the requested page has been permanently moved to a new location on the Internet. A 301 redirect is the recommended action when permanently moving a page. That is a redirect on server level which helps Google understand that the page has been moved. Ranking and link power will be partly transferred.
The status code 302 has somewhat the same meaning as 301 with the difference that 302 means that a page is moved temporary and not permanently.
404 means that the server can’t find the requested page. Most of us have probably come across “404 – The page cannot be found” when surfing the Web. There can be several reasons for the status code 404 – the user may have used an inadequate link, written the wrong URL adress or the page itself may have been moved.
410 is the status code received when the requested resource has been permanently removed. It is similar to a 404 (Not found) code, but is sometimes used in the place of 404 for resources that used to exist but no longer do. If the resource has been permanently moved, you should use a 301 redirect to specify the new location.
Canonical URL comes from the word canon, which means ”norm” or ”guideline”, and is used to help search engines identify duplicate content on a site. For instance, if a page can be reached via several URL addresses one can use canonical URL to designate one of the URLs as the main one – the one that Google and other search enginges will associate the page with.
PageRank is one of several systems that Google uses to rank pages in search results. The system is based on links being valued as votes, the votes being of diverse power. The power of a vote (link) is based on the quantity and power of the votes leading to the page where the link can be found. The power is also affected by the number of links on the page – the fewer the links, the more power in each one. Therefore, a link on a page with ten links has more power than if the same page would’ve had 50 links.
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