Google Search Console is a free tool that provides an ongoing overview of how your website is performing in Google search results. When reviewing reports for your website, you may come across error messages, some of which can impact how your website appears in search results. 

403 Error

If any of your website’s pages are password-protected, Google will list this under “Crawl Errors” with a 403 response (forbidden). This means there are restricted pages on your website, which aren’t indexed by Google. Restricted pages don’t affect your site’s SEO.

404 Error

If you delete a page from your website or change its URL, you may see a 404 error next to a specific URL. This means the URL is redirecting to a page that no longer exists. Google will eventually remove URLs with 404 errors, and will update its database when it re-crawls your website. You can simply mark the error as fixed.

To fix 404 errors related to a page with a changed URL or a recently-deleted page, you can set up a 301 redirect. This will automatically direct visitors using the old URL to the new one.

Soft 404 Error

Soft 404 errors have a number of possible root causes, such as technical issues or a recently-deleted page. Google may also return a soft 404 error if your website has little to no original content. Soft 404 errors displayed in your Google Search Console may be outdated and no longer relevant, and they don’t affect the rank of your other pages.

Errors displayed for deleted product pages or blog post pages, for example, may result in a soft 404 error, however these are normal and will resolve themselves. If you receive a soft 404 error, review the affected pages and use the URL Inspection Tool to request reindexing of the page.

For deleted pages and other pages that aren’t intended to appear in search results, simply ignore the error message. As some soft 404 errors can be caused by a lack of unique content, you’ll want to optimize content on the affected pages to resolve the issue.

5xx Error

An 5xx error message is a general one that indicates something has gone wrong. This may be due to an outdated or corrupted cache or cookies, or the issue may have occurred when the server requested resources.

If this error appears, you can use the URL Inspection Tool to scan the affected page. If there are no errors, go back to Google Search Console and click on Validate Fix next to the error message.