Checking Page HTTP Headers

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Checking Page HTTP Headers

To ensure that search engines understand your website structure correctly you should control each page HTTP headers. Your server should handle all requests properly – by this you will both achieve better crawl rate and higher rankings.

Understanding HTTP header status codes:

I don’t want to go into too much details here and describe only what is really important for SEOs. Basically there are 5 main status code classes:

  • informational (1xx);
  • successful (2xx) request;
  • redirection (3xx) = further action needs to be taken by the user agent in order to fulfill the request;
  • client error (4xx);
  • internal server error (5xx).

Out of the above status codes SEOs most often have to deal with the following ones:

  • 200 = the request has succeeded;
  • 301 = moved permanently;
  • 404 = not found.

It is necessary to make sure that in each particular case the correct status code is returned: e.g. don’t use redirect for non-existent pages – return an optimized page with 404 header code.

Cases SEOs Should Look out for:

Most often the following cases may result in 200 status code when handled improperly:

  • index.html vs. directory root;
  • www vs non-www version;
  • double slashes in the file path;
  • mixed up letter cases;
  • non-existent pages;
  • https protocol requests; etc.

HTTP Header Checking Tools:

There are numerous web-based tools that will show you HTTP header for any URL, a few examples include:

http header tools
  1. Web-Sniffer;
  2. HTTP Header Checker;
  3. Header Checker; etc

There is also one handy FireFox extension that allows to view all http requests issued by the Web page loaded in my browser: it adds information “Headers” tab under “Page Info” of a web page.


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Ann Smarty

Brand amd Community Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas

Ann Smarty is the blogger and community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. Ann's expertise in blogging and tools serve as ... [Read full bio]

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