Google publishes SEO guide to HTTP status codes, network issues and DNS errors

Ever wonder how your various HTTP status codes or how your network or DNS responds to GoogleBot may impact how well your site performs on Google Search? Well, Google has published a new guide and help document detailing how HTTP status codes and network or DNS errors impact your Google Search performance.

The document. You can access this document within the Google Search Central documentation area. It is broken down into:

  • HTTP status codes
    • 2xx codes
    • 3xx codes
    • 4xx codes
    • 5xx codes
  • Network errors
  • DNS errors

What stands out. To me, there are a few things that stand out to me, maybe as new or interesting:

(1) Google will try 10 hops for your redirects and then consider the URL with a redirect error in Search Console.

(2) 301 vs 302 redirects; Google has said a 301 redirect is a strong signal that the redirect target should be canonical whereas a 302 redirect is a weak signal that the redirect target should be canonical.

(3) 200 status codes guarantee that the page goes to the indexing pipeline but does not guarantee the indexing system will index the page.

Why we care. Google has previously not documented these HTTP status codes, network and DNS errors in such detail. We have heard bits and pieces from Google on each case but here is an official guide you can use from Google on how these impact your site’s performance in Google Search.

Print it out and give it to your SEO and server teams.

About The Author

Barry Schwartz a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry’s personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here.

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