We studied the resonant diffraction signal from stepped surfaces of SrTiO3 at the Ti 2p ¿ 3d (L2,3) resonance in comparison with x-ray absorption (XAS) and specular reflectivity data. The steps on the surface form an artificial superstructure suitable as a model system for resonant soft x-ray diffraction. A small step density on the surface is sufficient to produce a well defined diffraction peak. We determined the optical parameters of the sample across the resonance and found that the differences between the energy dependence of the x-ray absorption signal, the specular reflectivity and the step-related peak reflect the different quantities probed in these signals. When recorded at low incidence or detection angles, XAS and specular reflectivity spectra are strongly distorted by the changes of the angle of total reflection with energy. The resonant diffraction spectrum is less affected and can be used as a spectroscopic probe even in less favorable geometries.