Written by Lizzi Harvey

Fix unsuccessful HTTP status codes

Why does this matter?

HTTP status codes indicate the response given by a server for a request to a URL. 4XX status codes signal to search engines that a page does not provide any content. For example, 404 indicates the page not found; 403 indicates the content is restricted. In both cases, search engines assume there's nothing to show in search results, and may not index the page.

Measure

Lighthouse displays the following failed audit if search engines have trouble indexing your page: "Page has unsuccessful HTTP status code".

Determine if you actually want search engines to crawl this page

Some HTTP status codes tell crawlers that a page isn't available. That means search engines won't index the page and therefore won't include it in search results. This makes sense for any URLs that show errors, or which don't exist on your website.

Fix the error on your server

To fix the error, refer to the documentation for your specific server or hosting provider to make sure that your server returns a 2XX HTTP status code for all valid URLs, or a 3XX status code if the page has moved to another URL.
You can also try out our interactive example and learn how to fix the error in an express.js application.

Verify

Run the Lighthouse SEO Audit (Lighthouse > Options > SEO) and look for the results of the audit "Page has unsuccessful HTTP status code".


Codelabs

Learn more and put this guide into action:

Fix sneaky 404s Start