Stephen Ostermiller's Blog

SEO Myth: Every error listed in Google Search Console needs to be fixed

It is tempting to freak out when you open Google Search Console and find that it lists errors. They can look like big problems with your site that need to be fixed. However, most errors found in Google Search Console can be ignored.

There are some problems which you should address quickly:

  • A crawl problem with most every URL on your site.
  • A message from Google about a manual action against your site.

However, most errors are not as serious.

404 errors

Every site has 404 errors. That is the correct and expected response code when a page isn't found. It is normal for Googlebot to find 404 errors on every site. It is not desirable to keep a "clean" 404 error report. You want Googlebot to get a 404 when a URL shouldn't have content.

You should fix a 404 error if the page was accidentally deleted. You can also redirect misspellings and broken links when their intended target is obvious.

You shouldn't fix spammy or nonsense URLs. If somebody linked to /cheap-viagra on your site, it is better for SEO to let Google know that should be an error. It doesn't matter if there are thousands of 404 errors on bad URLs. Having lots of 404 errors is not going to hurt your good pages at all.

Temporary crawl anomolies

If Google encountered a few 5xx pages on your site, it isn't a big deal. Google will come back and re-crawl those pages soon.

Just check the pages and make sure there isn't currently an error. 5xx errors can be temporary and caused by database downtime or software upgrades.

A few of any issue

It isn't going to hurt your site if Google finds a few pages with other types of issues. Most issues reported by Google Search Console will not affect your site as a whole.

  • Mobile usablitiy issues
  • Structured data markup issues

Intentional blocking

If you use robots.txt or meta noindex to prevent Google from crawling or indexing your pages, Google will those as errors in search console. As long as the blockages are intentional, there is nothing to fix.

This article was written as part of a series about SEO myths.

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