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Crawl Errors: Understand, Fix and Preventing Them [2023]

Understanding, Fixing and Preventing Crawl Errors

If you have a website, then you’ve likely encountered crawl errors. Crawl errors are issues that occur when search engines, like Google, try to crawl and index your site. They can impact your site’s SEO and user experience, making it critical to identify and fix them.

Having an online presence is important for everyone, especially for businesses. Millions of people from around the world are entering the online world. If you want to dominate not just your area, but also the industry that you are in, then building a website and maintaining its crawlability should be a top priority.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into crawl errors, what they are, why they matter, and how to fix them.

What Are Crawl Errors?

Crawl errors occur when a search engine attempts to crawl your site and encounters an issue. They can be caused by a variety of factors, including server errors, DNS errors, URL errors, and robots failure. When a search engine encounters a crawl error, it may not be able to index your page or only be able to index a portion of the page.

In the following sections, we’ll dive deeper into some of the most common crawl errors and how to fix them.

Definition of Crawl Errors and How They Occur

Crawl errors occur when search engine bots try to visit a page on your website but cannot access it. This can happen for various reasons, such as broken links, missing pages, and server errors. When a search engine bot encounters a crawl error, it will not index that page, which can negatively impact your website’s search engine rankings.

How Search Engine Bots Crawl Websites

Search engine bots crawl websites by following links from one page to another. They use algorithms to find all the pages on a website and index them for search engine results. The process of crawling is crucial for search engine optimisation, as it allows search engines to understand the content of a website.

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Overview of Common Types of Crawl Errors

Learning The Common Types Of Crawl Errors

There are several types of crawl errors, including site errors, URL errors, and very specific URL errors. Site errors prevent search engine bots from accessing your website altogether, while URL errors only relate to a specific URL per error. Very specific URL errors are unique to certain sites and require a different approach to resolve.

Crawl errors are a common issue that website owners face in their SEO efforts. These errors occur when search engine bots try to visit a page on a website but are unable to access it. Crawl errors can negatively impact search engine rankings, as search engines may be unable to index all the pages on a website. 

Here are the 5 common causes of crawl errors:

1. DNS Errors

DNS errors occur when a search engine is unable to communicate with a website’s server. This may happen if the server is down or if there are connectivity issues. DNS errors are usually temporary and search engines will come back to crawl the website later. You can use a web tool like ISUP.ME to check if the website is down for everyone or just on your end.

2. Server Errors

Server errors occur when the bot is unable to access a website due to server-related issues. This can be due to slow loading times, flawed code that prevents a page from loading, or too many visitors overwhelming the server. These errors are usually returned as 5xx status codes, such as 500 and 503.

3. Robots Failure

Before crawling a website, search engine bots will try to crawl the website’s robots.txt file to see if there are any areas on the website that should not be indexed. If the bots are unable to reach the robots.txt file, they will postpone crawling the website until they can reach it. Website owners should ensure that their robots.txt file is easily accessible to search engine bots.

4. Soft 404 Errors

Soft 404 errors occur when a search engine bot attempts to crawl a page that does not exist or has been removed. Soft 404 errors can negatively impact search engine rankings, as search engines may view these pages as low quality. Website owners should ensure that all pages on their website return a 200 OK server response.

5. URL Errors

URL errors occur when a search engine bot attempts to crawl a specific page on a website and encounters an error. These errors can be caused by internal links, inconsistencies in the robots.txt file or meta tags, and other issues that prevent a page from being crawled.

Some common URL errors include:

  • Redirect errors: Occur when there is a problem with a page’s redirect.
  • Not found errors: Occur when the page requested by the crawler cannot be found.

6. Access Denied

Access-denied errors occur when a page cannot be crawled due to permission issues. This can happen if the page is password-protected or if the crawler is blocked by robots.txt.

7. Not Followed

Not followed errors occur when a page is not followed because it is a duplicate or a low-quality page.

By understanding the causes of these common crawl errors, website owners can take steps to prevent them from occurring and ensure that their website is easily accessible to search engine bots. Resolving crawl errors can improve search engine rankings and increase website traffic. Crawl errors can be broken down into two categories, site errors, and (DNS) Server errors.

Why Crawl Errors Are a Problem?

Understand Why Crawl Errors Are A Problem

Crawl errors can significantly impact your site’s SEO and user experience. When a search engine like Google encounters a crawl error while using its tool, it may not be able to index your page or only be able to index a portion of the page. This can impact your site’s rankings, visibility in search results, and user experience.

A smooth operating website is required to gain traffic through search engines. Google’s not going to send it’s best resources to pages that don’t provide value to the end user. Get a free website consultation today with a detailed plan to bring your website inline with Google search guidelines.

URL Inspection Tool

The URL Inspection Tool in Google Search Console can help you identify specific crawl errors on your site. It provides information about a URL’s status and any issues affecting its appearance in search results.

Very Specific URL Errors

Some crawl errors may only affect a specific URL or page. These can be more difficult to identify and fix, but addressing them is important as they can impact your site’s overall performance. If you’re having trouble identifying or fixing a specific crawl error, seek out technical SEO training.

Fix Your Crawl Errors

Guide To Fixing Your Crawl Errors

Fixing crawl errors requires a combination of technical knowledge and persistence. Some common fixes for crawl errors include:

  • Updating the page’s URL structure
  • Fixing broken redirects
  • Adjusting your robots.txt file
  • Resolving server-side errors

Regularly monitoring and fixing crawl errors, can help improve your site’s overall performance and user experience.

Conclusion

Crawl errors are inevitable in website management, but they can be managed and fixed. Understanding the different types of crawl errors and how to fix them can help ensure your site is performing at its best.


If you need help with search engine optimisation or want to learn more about optimising your website, consider our detailed SEO training. You can also explore our search engine services. Don’t let crawl errors hinder your site’s performance and potential, take action and start climbing SERPS (Search Engine Results Page) today.

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