Tag Archive | "Errors"

Stop Making These 12 Word Choice Errors Once and for All

"Write the correct words the first time, and you’ll spend less time editing later." – Stefanie Flaxman

Bill is at a wine bar on Saturday night, enjoying a glass of Pinot Noir.

After striking up a playful conversation with Lisa (who prefers Syrah), he asks for her telephone number. Lisa agrees to Bill’s request, and he creates a new “contact” in his cell phone.

“No,” Lisa stops Bill. “You’ll have to memorize it. I don’t want you to write it down.”

Bill accepts the challenge and confidently repeats the 10-digit number a few times aloud. Lisa proceeds to talk about her cat Nibbles for an hour and then leaves the bar after she realizes how late in the evening it has become.

By the next day, Bill has forgotten Lisa’s phone number. He remembers how much Nibbles loves playing with yarn because he used to have a cat that loved yarn … and although he wants to send Lisa a text message, her digits weren’t meaningful to him.

The same thing happens when you memorize the definitions of two similar words instead of learning how to use them.

When you memorize without any meaningful context, you may quickly forget a definition and continually select a word that doesn’t mean what you think it means.

When you learn how to use the following 12 pairs of words, it will be easier to choose the proper one for your content.

Write the correct words the first time, and you’ll spend less time editing later.

1. Compliment vs. Complement


A “compliment (noun)” is an “expression of praise.” When you “compliment (verb)” someone, you praise something about her.

“I like your neon-rainbow, unicorn t-shirt” is a compliment.

The word “compliment,” spelled with the letter “i,” should remind you of saying “I like” — how you begin a compliment.


A “complement (noun)” is “something that completes something else.” When something “complements (verb)” something else, it “makes it whole/adds value to it/completes it.”

Complete is part of the word “complement.”

2. Premiere vs. Premier


“Premiere (noun)” is “the first showing of an event.” “Premiere” as other parts of speech conveys a similar meaning.

Premiere could describe a movie premiere. The words “premiere” and “movie” both end with the letter “e.”


Use the adjective “premier” to describe “the best ___.”

Premier means premium. Neither word ends with the letter “e.”

“Premier (noun)” is less common. The term describes a person who is first in rank.

For example, a “premier” may be a chief executive officer or president of a company.

3. Effect vs. Affect


The noun “effect” refers to an “outcome or result.”

If you associate “special effects” in movies with “effects,” you’ll remember that “effect” should be used as the noun to describe an outcome.


The verb “affect” describes something that “manipulates or causes a change.”

An emotional piece of news may affect how you feel after you hear it.

4. Accept vs. Except


The verb “accept” means “to take in or receive.”

When using the word “accept,” associate it with the word “acceptance” — you take something in; you receive it.


The word “except” is not a verb. It can be used as a preposition, a conjunction, or an idiom. In each form, the word “except” means “with the exclusion of ___.”

When you use the word “except,” you want to exclude something.

5. Ensure vs. Insure


Use the verb “ensure” to convey “make certain or guarantee.”

To remember when to use “ensure,” note that the last two letters of the word “guarantee” are “e” and the word “ensure” begins with the letter “e.”


The verb “insure” communicates “protecting assets against loss or harm.”

If you are discussing the protection of assets, think of car insurance and then use the word “insure.”

6. Regard vs. Regards


Use “regard” when you want to express consideration or reference something specific.

Writing “in regards to” is one of my content pet peeves.

“Regard” is typically the proper word choice, unless you are sending your feelings of empathy to someone else. Which brings us to …


“Regards” are your “best wishes or warm greetings.”

7. Beside vs. Besides


If you want to convey the meaning of “next to or alongside,” use “beside.”

Associate the word “beside” with the word “alongside.” Both words end with the letters “s-i-d-e.”

Beside can also mean “not connected to.” You would write “that is beside the point.”


The word “besides” means “in addition to.”

“Besides” ends with the letter “s,” which reminds us of a plural word — two or more of something, additional items.

“Besides can also mean “other than/except.”

Associate the “s” sound in the word “except” with the word “besides,” which ends with the letter “s.”

8. Stationery vs. Stationary


“Stationery” is always a noun. It’s typically decorative paper and ornate pens. You might use it to jot down quotes from your favorite writing books.

Associate the noun “stationery” with “paper.” The last three letters of the noun “stationery” contain the letters “er.” The word “paper” also ends with the letters “er.”


“Stationary” means “still, grounded, or motionless.” It can be used as a noun or adjective.

Since the word “stationary” can also be used as an adjective, associate the “a” in the word “adjective” with the letter “a” in the last three letters in the adjective “stationary.”

9. Precede vs. Proceed


“Precede” means “to go before.” It is a verb.

Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace (1999) was a “prequel” to the original Star Wars film (1977).

The events that took place during the prequel came before (or preceded) Star Wars.


“Proceed” is also a verb, but it means “carry on, continue, move forward.”

Think of “proceed” as “proactive, taking the next step in a sequence.”

“Precede” is “before” and “proceed” is “after.”

10. Who’s vs. Whose


“Who’s” is a contraction of two words — most commonly, “who is” (present tense), “who has,” or “who was” (past tense).

If you are combining a verb with the word “who,” it’s appropriate to use “who’s” (with an apostrophe).


“Whose” is a possessive pronoun, similar to “mine,” “yours,” “his,” or “hers.”

If you don’t intend to combine two words with an apostrophe, use the possessive pronoun “whose.”

11. Sometime vs. Some time


When “sometime” is one word, it’s an adverb that refers to “one point in time.” For example, “I’d love to have coffee with you sometime.”

Some time

When “some” and “time” are separated as two words, think of the word “some” as an “amount.”

“Some time” is “an amount of time.” For example, “I just ate so much ice cream. It will take some time before I’m hungry again.”

12. Into vs. In to


“Into” is a preposition that means “entering or transforming.” For example, “The fashion designer transformed the ugly fabric into a chic dress.”

A noun typically follows the word “into.”

In to

A verb that pairs with the word “in” typically goes before “in to.”

For example, “During the baseball game, the outfielder moved in to catch the ball.”

Your turn …

Do you have any word choice pet peeves? What are your favorite tips for learning how to use certain words correctly?

How could Lisa have helped Bill learn her phone number, rather than memorize it? ”</p

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Google AMP reports now differentiate between critical and non-critical errors

Google Search Console has upgraded the AMP error report to show which errors are causing your AMP content to not be indexed in Google.

The post Google AMP reports now differentiate between critical and non-critical errors appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

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How to Fix Crawl Errors in Google Search Console

Posted by Joe.Robison

A lot has changed in the five years since I first wrote about what was Google Webmaster Tools, now named Google Search Console. Google has unleashed significantly more data that promises to be extremely useful for SEOs. Since we’ve long since lost sufficient keyword data in Google Analytics, we’ve come to rely on Search Console more than ever. The “Search Analytics” and “Links to Your Site” sections are two of the top features that did not exist in the old Webmaster Tools.

While we may never be completely satisfied with Google’s tools and may occasionally call their bluffs, they do release some helpful information (from time to time). To their credit, Google has developed more help docs and support resources to aid Search Console users in locating and fixing errors.

Despite the fact that some of this isn’t as fun as creating 10x content or watching which of your keywords have jumped in the rankings, this category of SEO is still extremely important.

Looking at it through Portent’s epic visualization of how Internet marketing pieces fit together, fixing crawl errors in Search Console fits squarely into the “infrastructure” piece:

If you can develop good habits and practice preventative maintenance, weekly spot checks on crawl errors will be perfectly adequate to keep them under control. However, if you fully ignore these (pesky) errors, things can quickly go from bad to worse.

Crawl Errors layout

One change that has evolved over the last few years is the layout of the Crawl Errors view within Search Console. Search Console is divided into two main sections: Site Errors and URL Errors.

Categorizing errors in this way is pretty helpful because there’s a distinct difference between errors at the site level and errors at the page level. Site-level issues can be more catastrophic, with the potential to damage your site’s overall usability. URL errors, on the other hand, are specific to individual pages, and are therefore less urgent.

The quickest way to access Crawl Errors is from the dashboard. The main dashboard gives you a quick preview of your site, showing you three of the most important management tools: Crawl Errors, Search Analytics, and Sitemaps.

You can get a quick look at your crawl errors from here. Even if you just glance at it daily, you’ll be much further ahead than most site managers.

1. Site Errors

The Site Errors section shows you errors from your website as a whole. These are the high-level errors that affect your site in its entirety, so don’t skip these.

In the Crawl Errors dashboard, Google will show you these errors for the last 90 days.

If you have some type of activity from the last 90 days, your snippet will look like this:

If you’ve been 100% error-free for the last 90 days with nothing to show, it will look like this:

That’s the goal — to get a “Nice!” from Google. As SEOs we don’t often get any validation from Google, so relish this rare moment of love.

How often should you check for site errors?

In an ideal world you would log in daily to make sure there are no problems here. It may get monotonous since most days everything is fine, but wouldn’t you kick yourself if you missed some critical site errors?

At the extreme minimum, you should check at least every 90 days to look for previous errors so you can keep an eye out for them in the future — but frequent, regular checks are best.

We’ll talk about setting up alerts and automating this part later, but just know that this section is critical and you should be 100% error-free in this section every day. There’s no gray area here.

A) DNS Errors

What they mean

DNS errors are important — and the implications for your website if you have severe versions of these errors is huge.

DNS (Domain Name System) errors are the first and most prominent error because if the Googlebot is having DNS issues, it means it can’t connect with your domain via a DNS timeout issue or DNS lookup issue.

Your domain is likely hosted with a common domain company, like Namecheap or GoDaddy, or with your web hosting company. Sometimes your domain is hosted separately from your website hosting company, but other times the same company handles both.

Are they important?

While Google states that many DNS issues still allow Google to connect to your site, if you’re getting a severe DNS issue you should act immediately.

There may be high latency issues that do allow Google to crawl the site, but provide a poor user experience.

A DNS issue is extremely important, as it’s the first step in accessing your website. You should take swift and violent action if you’re running into DNS issues that prevent Google from connecting to your site in the first place.

How to fix

  1. First and foremost, Google recommends using their Fetch as Google tool to view how Googlebot crawls your page. Fetch as Google lives right in Search Console.

    If you’re only looking for the DNS connection status and are trying to act quickly, you can fetch without rendering. The slower process of Fetch and Render is useful, however, to get a side-by-side comparison of how Google sees your site compared to a user.

  2. Check with your DNS provider. If Google can’t fetch and render your page properly, you’ll want to take further action. Check with your DNS provider to see where the issue is. There could be issues on the DNS provider’s end, or it could be worse.
  3. Ensure your server displays a 404 or 500 error code. Instead of having a failed connection, your server should display a 404 (not found) code or a 500 (server error) code. These codes are more accurate than having a DNS error.

Other tools

  • ISUP.me – Lets you know instantly if your site is down for everyone, or just on your end.
  • Web-Sniffer.net – shows you the current HTTP(s) request and response header. Useful for point #3 above.

B) Server Errors

What they mean

A server error most often means that your server is taking too long to respond, and the request times out. The Googlebot that’s trying to crawl your site can only wait a certain amount of time to load your website before it gives up. If it takes too long, the Googlebot will stop trying.

Server errors are different than DNS errors. A DNS error means the Googlebot can’t even lookup your URL because of DNS issues, while server errors mean that although the Googlebot can connect to your site, it can’t load the page because of server errors.

Server errors may happen if your website gets overloaded with too much traffic for the server to handle. To avoid this, make sure your hosting provider can scale up to accommodate sudden bursts of website traffic. Everybody wants their website to go viral, but not everybody is ready!

Are they important?

Like DNS errors, a server error is extremely urgent. It’s a fundamental error, and harms your site overall. You should take immediate action if you see server errors in Search Console for your site.

Making sure the Googlebot can connect to the DNS is an important first step, but you won’t get much further if your website doesn’t actually show up. If you’re running into server errors, the Googlebot won’t be able to find anything to crawl and it will give up after a certain amount of time.

How to fix

In the event that your website is running fine at the time you encounter this error, that may mean there were server errors in the past Though this error may have been resolved for now, you should still make some changes to prevent it from happening again.

This is Google’s official direction for fixing server errors:

“Use Fetch as Google to check if Googlebot can currently crawl your site. If Fetch as Google returns the content of your homepage without problems, you can assume that Google is generally able to access your site properly.”

Before you can fix your server errors issue, you need to diagnose specifically which type of server error you’re getting, since there are many types:

  • Timeout
  • Truncated headers
  • Connection reset
  • Truncated response
  • Connection refused
  • Connect failed
  • Connect timeout
  • No response

Addressing how to fix each of these is beyond the scope of this article, but you should reference Google Search Console help to diagnose specific errors.

C) Robots failure

A Robots failure means that the Googlebot cannot retrieve your robots.txt file, located at [yourdomain.com]/robots.txt.

What they mean

One of the most surprising things about a robots.txt file is that it’s only necessary if you don’t want Google to crawl certain pages.

From Search Console help, Google states:

“You need a robots.txt file only if your site includes content that you don’t want search engines to index. If you want search engines to index everything in your site, you don’t need a robots.txt file — not even an empty one. If you don’t have a robots.txt file, your server will return a 404 when Googlebot requests it, and we will continue to crawl your site. No problem.”

Are they important?

This is a fairly important issue. For smaller, more static websites without many recent changes or new pages, it’s not particularly urgent. But the issue should still be fixed.

If your site is publishing or changing new content daily, however, this is an urgent issue. If the Googlebot cannot load your robots.txt, it’s not crawling your website, and it’s not indexing your new pages and changes.

How to fix

Ensure that your robots.txt file is properly configured. Double-check which pages you’re instructing the Googlebot to not crawl, as all others will be crawled by default. Triple-check the all-powerful line of “Disallow: /” and ensure that line DOES NOT exist unless for some reason you do not want your website to appear in Google search results.

If your file seems to be in order and you’re still receiving errors, use a server header checker tool to see if your file is returning a 200 or 404 error.

What’s interesting about this issue is that it’s better to have no robots.txt at all than to have one that’s improperly configured. If you have none at all, Google will crawl your site as usual. If you have one returning errors, Google will stop crawling until you fix this file.

For being only a few lines of text, the robots.txt file can have catastrophic consequences for your website. Make sure you’re checking it early and often.

2. URL Errors

URL errors are different from site errors because they only affect specific pages on your site, not your website as a whole.

Google Search Console will show you the top URL errors per category — desktop, smartphone, and feature phone. For large sites, this may not be enough data to show all the errors, but for the majority of sites this will capture all known problems.

Tip: Going crazy with the amount of errors? Mark all as fixed.

Many site owners have run into the issue of seeing a large number of URL errors and getting freaked out. The important thing to remember is a) Google ranks the most important errors first and b) some of these errors may already be resolved.

If you’ve made some drastic changes to your site to fix errors, or believe a lot of the URL errors are no longer happening, one tactic to employ is marking all errors as fixed and checking back up on them in a few days.

When you do this, your errors will be cleared out of the dashboard for now, but Google will bring the errors back the next time it crawls your site over the next few days. If you had truly fixed these errors in the past, they won’t show up again. If the errors still exist, you’ll know that these are still affecting your site.

A) Soft 404

A soft 404 error is when a page displays as 200 (found) when it should display as 404 (not found).

What they mean

Just because your 404 page looks like a 404 page doesn’t mean it actually is one. The user-visible aspect of a 404 page is the content of the page. The visible message should let users know the page they requested is gone. Often, site owners will have a helpful list of related links the users should visit or a funny 404 response.

The flipside of a 404 page is the crawler-visible response. The header HTTP response code should be 404 (not found) or 410 (gone).

A quick refresher on how HTTP requests and responses look:

Image source: Tuts Plus

If you’re returning a 404 page and it’s listed as a Soft 404, it means that the header HTTP response code does not return the 404 (not found) response code. Google recommends “that you always return a 404 (not found) or a 410 (gone) response code in response to a request for a non-existing page.”

Another situation in which soft 404 errors may show up is if you have pages that are 301 redirecting to non-related pages, such as the home page. Google doesn’t seem to explicitly state where the line is drawn on this, only making mention of it in vague terms.

Officially, Google says this about soft 404s:

“Returning a code other than 404 or 410 for a non-existent page (or redirecting users to another page, such as the homepage, instead of returning a 404) can be problematic.”

Although this gives us some direction, it’s unclear when it’s appropriate to redirect an expired page to the home page and when it’s not.

In practice, from my own experience, if you’re redirecting large amounts of pages to the home page, Google can interpret those redirected URLs as soft 404s rather than true 301 redirects.

Conversely, if you were to redirect an old page to a closely related page instead, it’s unlikely that you’d trigger the soft 404 warning in the same way.

Are they important?

If the pages listed as soft 404 errors aren’t critical pages and you’re not eating up your crawl budget by having some soft 404 errors, these aren’t an urgent item to fix.

If you have crucial pages on your site listed as soft 404s, you’ll want to take action to fix those. Important product, category, or lead gen pages shouldn’t be listed as soft 404s if they’re live pages. Pay special attention to pages critical to your site’s moneymaking ability.

If you have a large amount of soft 404 errors relative to the total number of pages on your site, you should take swift action. You can be eating up your (precious?) Googlebot crawl budget by allowing these soft 404 errors to exist.

How to fix

For pages that no longer exist:

  • Allow to 404 or 410 if the page is gone and receives no significant traffic or links. Ensure that the server header response is 404 or 410, not 200.
  • 301 redirect each old page to a relevant, related page on your site.
  • Do not redirect broad amounts of dead pages to your home page. They should 404 or be redirected to appropriate similar pages.

For pages that are live pages, and are not supposed to be a soft 404:

  • Ensure there is an appropriate amount of content on the page, as thin content may trigger a soft 404 error.
  • Ensure the content on your page doesn’t appear to represent a 404 page while serving a 200 response code.

Soft 404s are strange errors. They lead to a lot of confusion because they tend to be a strange hybrid of 404 and normal pages, and what is causing them isn’t always clear. Ensure the most critical pages on your site aren’t throwing soft 404 errors, and you’re off to a good start!

B) 404

A 404 error means that the Googlebot tried to crawl a page that doesn’t exist on your site. Googlebot finds 404 pages when other sites or pages link to that non-existent page.

What they mean

404 errors are probably the most misunderstood crawl error. Whether it’s an intermediate SEO or the company CEO, the most common reaction is fear and loathing of 404 errors.

Google clearly states in their guidelines:

“Generally, 404 errors don’t affect your site’s ranking in Google, so you can safely ignore them.”

I’ll be the first to admit that “you can safely ignore them” is a pretty misleading statement for beginners. No — you cannot ignore them if they are 404 errors for crucial pages on your site.

(Google does practice what it preaches, in this regard — going to google.com/searchconsole returns a 404 instead of a helpful redirect to google.com/webmasters)

Distinguishing between times when you can ignore an error and when you’ll need to stay late at the office to fix something comes from deep review and experience, but Rand offered some timeless advice on 404s back in 2009:

“When faced with 404s, my thinking is that unless the page:

A) Receives important links to it from external sources (Google Webmaster Tools is great for this),
B) Is receiving a substantive quantity of visitor traffic,
C) Has an obvious URL that visitors/links intended to reach

It’s OK to let it 404.”

The hard work comes in deciding what qualifies as important external links and substantive quantity of traffic for your particular URL on your particular site.

Annie Cushing also prefers Rand’s method, and recommends:

“Two of the most important metrics to look at are backlinks to make sure you don’t lose the most valuable links and total landing page visits in your analytics software. You may have others, like looking at social metrics. Whatever you decide those metrics to be, you want to export them all from your tools du jour and wed them in Excel.”

One other thing to consider not mentioned above is offline marketing campaigns, podcasts, and other media that use memorable tracking URLs. It could be that your new magazine ad doesn’t come out until next month, and the marketing department forgot to tell you about an unimportant-looking URL (example.com/offer-20) that’s about to be plastered in tens thousands of magazines. Another reason for cross-department synergy.

Are they important?

This is probably one of the trickiest and simplest problems of all errors. The vast quantity of 404s that many medium to large sites accumulate is enough to deter action.

404 errors are very urgent if important pages on your site are showing up as 404s. Conversely, like Google says, if a page is long gone and doesn’t meet our quality criteria above, let it be.

As painful as it might be to see hundreds of errors in your Search Console, you just have to ignore them. Unless you get to the root of the problem, they’ll continue showing up.

How to fix 404 errors

If your important page is showing up as a 404 and you don’t want it to be, take these steps:

  1. Ensure the page is published from your content management system and not in draft mode or deleted.
  2. Ensure the 404 error URL is the correct page and not another variation.
  3. Check whether this error shows up on the www vs non-www version of your site and the http vs https version of your site. See Moz canonicalization for more details.
  4. If you don’t want to revive the page, but want to redirect it to another page, make sure you 301 redirect it to the most appropriate related page.

In short, if your page is dead, make the page live again. If you don’t want that page live, 301 redirect it to the correct page.

How to stop old 404s from showing up in your crawl errors report

If your 404 error URL is meant to be long gone, let it die. Just ignore it, as Google recommends. But to prevent it from showing up in your crawl errors report, you’ll need to do a few more things.

As yet another indication of the power of links, Google will only show the 404 errors in the first place if your site or an external website is linking to the 404 page.

In other words, if I type in your-website-name.com/unicorn-boogers, it won’t show up in your crawl errors dashboard unless I also link to it from my website.

To find the links to your 404 page, go to your Crawl Errors > URL Errors section:

Then click on the URL you want to fix:

Search your page for the link. It’s often faster to view the source code of your page and find the link in question there:

It’s painstaking work, but if you really want to stop old 404s from showing up in your dashboard, you’ll have to remove the links to that page from every page linking to it. Even other websites.

What’s really fun (not) is if you’re getting links pointed to your URL from old sitemaps. You’ll have to let those old sitemaps 404 in order to totally remove them. Don’t redirect them to your live sitemap.

C) Access denied

Access denied means Googlebot can’t crawl the page. Unlike a 404, Googlebot is prevented from crawling the page in the first place.

What they mean

Access denied errors commonly block the Googlebot through these methods:

  • You require users to log in to see a URL on your site, therefore the Googlebot is blocked
  • Your robots.txt file blocks the Googlebot from individual URLs, whole folders, or your entire site
  • Your hosting provider is blocking the Googlebot from your site, or the server requires users to authenticate by proxy

Are they important?

Similar to soft 404s and 404 errors, if the pages being blocked are important for Google to crawl and index, you should take immediate action.

If you don’t want this page to be crawled and indexed, you can safely ignore the access denied errors.

How to fix

To fix access denied errors, you’ll need to remove the element that’s blocking the Googlebot’s access:

  • Remove the login from pages that you want Google to crawl, whether it’s an in-page or popup login prompt
  • Check your robots.txt file to ensure the pages listed on there are meant to be blocked from crawling and indexing
  • Use the robots.txt tester to see warnings on your robots.txt file and to test individual URLs against your file
  • Use a user-agent switcher plugin for your browser, or the Fetch as Google tool to see how your site appears to Googlebot
  • Scan your website with Screaming Frog, which will prompt you to log in to pages if the page requires it

While not as common as 404 errors, access denied issues can still harm your site’s ranking ability if the wrong pages are blocked. Be sure to keep an eye on these errors and rapidly fix any urgent issues.

D) Not followed

What they mean

Not to be confused with a “nofollow” link directive, a “not followed” error means that Google couldn’t follow that particular URL.

Most often these errors come about from Google running into issues with Flash, Javascript, or redirects.

Are they important?

If you’re dealing with not followed issues on a high-priority URL, then yes, these are important.

If your issues are stemming from old URLs that are no longer active, or from parameters that aren’t indexed and just an extra feature, the priority level on these is lower — but you should still analyze them.

How to fix

Google identifies the following as features that the Googlebot and other search engines may have trouble crawling:

  • JavaScript
  • Cookies
  • Session IDs
  • Frames
  • Flash

Use either the Lynx text browser or the Fetch as Google tool, using Fetch and Render, to view the site as Google would. You can also use a Chrome add-on such as User-Agent Switcher to mimic Googlebot as you browse pages.

If, as the Googlebot, you’re not seeing the pages load or not seeing important content on the page because of some of the above technologies, then you’ve found your issue. Without visible content and links to crawl on the page, some URLs can’t be followed. Be sure to dig in further and diagnose the issue to fix.

For parameter crawling issues, be sure to review how Google is currently handling your parameters. Specify changes in the URL Parameters tool if you want Google to treat your parameters differently.

For not followed issues related to redirects, be sure to fix any of the following that apply:

  • Check for redirect chains. If there are too many “hops,” Google will stop following the redirect chain
  • When possible, update your site architecture to allow every page on your site to be reached from static links, rather than relying on redirects implemented in the past
  • Don’t include redirected URLs in your sitemap, include the destination URL

Google used to include more detail on the Not Followed section, but as Vanessa Fox detailed in this post, a lot of extra data may be available in the Search Console API.

Other tools

E) Server errors & DNS errors

Under URL errors, Google again lists server errors and DNS errors, the same sections in the Site Errors report. Google’s direction is to handle these in the same way you would handle the site errors level of the server and DNS errors, so refer to those two sections above.

They would differ in the URL errors section if the errors were only affecting individual URLs and not the site as a whole. If you have isolated configurations for individual URLs, such as minisites or a different configuration for certain URLs on your domain, they could show up here.

Now that you’re the expert on these URL errors, I’ve created this handy URL error table that you can print out and tape to your desktop or bathroom mirror.


I get it — some of this technical SEO stuff can bore you to tears. Nobody wants to individually inspect seemingly unimportant URL errors, or conversely, have a panic attack seeing thousands of errors on your site.

With experience and repetition, however, you will gain the mental muscle memory of knowing how to react to the errors: which are important and which can be safely ignored. It’ll be second nature pretty soon.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to read up on Google’s official documentation for Search Console, and keep these URLs handy for future questions:

We’re simply covering the Crawl Errors section of Search Console. Search Console is a data beast on its own, so for further reading on how to make best use of this tool in its entirety, check out these other guides:

Google has generously given us one of the most powerful (and free!) tools for diagnosing website errors. Not only will fixing these errors help you improve your rankings in Google, they help provide a better user experience to your visitors, and help meet your business goals faster.

Your turn: What crawl errors issues and wins have you experienced using Google Search Console?

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SearchCap: Google AMP Errors, Nofollow Links & AdWords Health

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

The post SearchCap: Google AMP Errors, Nofollow Links & AdWords Health appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

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15 WordPress User Errors That Make You Look Silly [Infographic]

Image of Copyblogger Infographic Thumbnail

Through superior flexibility and excellent quality, WordPress shed the label of mere “blogging” software long ago.

It’s become an indispensible content publishing platform for millions of real businesses and talented writers and thinkers across the web.

Chances are, it’s even powering your website, which makes the infographic you’ll find below indispensible.

If you’re running your site on WordPress there’s a chance you’re running into certain errors that can make you look, well, just a little bit silly.

The good news? These errors are an easy fix.

Is your site loading slowly? That’s a huge no-no in the era of Google placing emphasis on page speed. See #1.

Did your site get de-indexed? Might be because of silly error #5.

How about you woke up one morning with your sidebar living below all your content? Check #10 for a quick fix.

Take a good look at the infographic below, (designed by Copyblogger Media’s Lead Designer, the incredible Rafal Tomal), and use it as a basic checklist to make sure your WordPress website isn’t falling victim to any of these silly errors …

15 WordPress User Errors That Make You Look Silly [Infographic]

Want to publish this infographic on your own site?

Copy and paste this code into your blog post or web page:

About the Author: Jerod Morris is a founding member of the Synthesis Managed WordPress Hosting team. He is a copywriter and professional blogger responsible for creating Midwest Sports Fans and Primility.

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PHP Errors as a Means of Getting Links

Posted by Eugene Krall

1. Using a Search Engine for Finding Faulty Sites

PHP Error Link BuildingI was reading the article about “Broken Link Building” the other day when I realized that there might be a possible extension to the idea of helping webmasters with keeping theirs sites together. Since there is a lot of stuff that can go wrong with a website, I started probing possibilities. Here is what I came up with.

Definitely, there might be other problems with an internet site that might be noticed by an ordinary user. And in order to take a well-structured and organized approach, I had to find sites with a certain clear and present problem, and be able to find these sites in bulk.

While thinking about this, I was doing my usual everyday routine when suddenly a php error popped out on the site I was browsing at the time. You are no doubt have encountered something like that lots of times.

PHP Error Example

I knew for sure that I had seen such type of error A LOT. Only all of those times I was in an absolutely different frame of mind and had no idea how I could use it to my benefit.

The site was related to my own (that’s why I was browsing it in the first place), and of pretty decent quality and value, so it made perfect sense for me to ask a responsible person for a link from it. Only all of us know that you do not simply contact a person and ask them to link to you right away. You wouldn’t, would you?

From experience we all know that all our requests that generate little or no value to the requestee should better be based on relationships, even if they are established by one simple sentence which says “Hi man, it seems your PHP is getting out of control, you had better do something about it: <link to the page with a PHP problem>”.

OK, let me explain everything step by step.

What I was doing wrong

Try more subtle approach, show them that you sent the message only because you felt that it would be appropriate to let them know about the problem, not because you wanted to use it to your benefit.

“By the way, I was thinking if there is any chance that you can link to my site. It seems your visitors might be interested in this sort of thing. Anyway, size it up for yourself and if you of the same opinion, kindly add the link and let me know”

But let me explain everything step by step.

2. PHP Notification Explained

A lot of you probably have quite perfunctory understanding of PHP. So do I. The beauty of it is that you do not have to be a programmer to help webmasters with their PHP problems. I will try to explain in short what you should know in order to be ready to write a PHP error message.

Let's assume that you already know that PHP is a server-side scripting language.

If something goes wrong and a php command/function can not be executed properly on a page loading in a browser, PHP engine throws up a notification on the page (like the one displayed on the picture above). Sometimes they are not displayed, though, if the webmaster has chosen the "not display notifications in browser" option in the PHP settings.

There are several major types of notifications, but all of them are uniform, which makes it possible for us to find them on Google. Let's take a look at a couple of examples:

Warning: include(../inc_header.php) [function.include]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/actualad/public_html/hotel_soaltee_crowne_plaza.php on line 21

Notice: Uninitialized string offset: 0 in /var/www/odkryjpolske.pl/op3/functions/functions.php on line 1952

Fatal error: Call to undefined function tweetmeme() in /home/content/40/8396940/html/blog/wp-content/themes/magilas/single.php on line 54

Deprecated: Function ereg_replace() is deprecated in /var/www/virtual/sleepingparis.com/htdocs/admin/filemappa.php on line 18

Strict Standards: Non-static method DB::connect() should not be called statically in C:\wwwAmauta\php\dosmanosperu\connection\gateway.inc.php on line 28

I was able to spot five types of error notifications and then made an attempt to figure out a way to find them on Google so that the results were as relevant as possible. After taking a closer look I figured out that the part "php on line" was present in all the types of notifications. The only other part that seemingly remained the same were the words "Warning/Notice/Fatal Error/Deprecated/Strict Standards"

3. Seek…

So, in order to get results containing pages with PHP error notifications, you should form queries:

  1. "warning:" [function." "php on line"
  2. "notice:" "php on line"
  3. "fatal error:" "php on line"
  4. "deprecated:" "php on line"
  5. "strict standards:" "php on line"

But that might not be enough. Instead of getting search results with actual error notifications on faulty pages, you might stumble on a discussion of that error on some forum, or even the official PHP site.

The solution is as follows: add some relevant keywords to your query (defining the type of site you want to deal with). Let's assume I have an online hotel reservation site and I want to get in touch with tour and hotel sites all over the world. I do the following:

  1. "warning:" [function." "php on line" intitle:tours
  2. "notice:" "php on line" intitle:tours
  3. "fatal error:" "php on line" intitle:tours
  4. "deprecated:" "php on line" intitle:tours
  5. "strict standards:" "php on line" intitle:tours

The result is more than satisfactory one. There are 1,380,000 results for the query "warning:" [function." "php on line" intitle:tours and even the last hundred results out of 1000 displayed on Google are at least 50% relevant to what I was searching for. I mean the pages displayed indeed have a php error notification on them and offer tour services.

But if you somehow feel that the results aren't relevant enough, you can always expand your search query by adding additional keywords.

There is also a more thorough way to go. You may further brake down the types of PHP errors by the contents of a notification.

Let's assume you have stumbled upon the warning notification which looks like:

Warning: include_once(language/mn.php) [function.include-once]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /hermes/waloraweb061/b490/pow.sndmn/htdocs/destination/index.php on line 34

It is the easiest one to solve since it clearly states that the file or directory are missing. So all you have to write to the webmaster is "check your files and their names carefully"

Let's find the constant value of the message and delete all the information which changes (like the names of the files and folders, paths to them, etc.). And do not forget to attach your keywords!

That's what we get after some tweaking.

"Warning:" "[function.include-once]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in" "php on line" intitle:tours

The query produces 132 results, which is quite something to start with since you already have the solution to the problem in your pocket. Now all you have to do is send your message to the respective parties in the results and wait for them to reply!

4. … and destroy!

Waiting for the repliesUsually, if you direct the attention of webmaster to the problem with their site, they should know what to do about it since they have probably earned being called "webmasters". Still there are a considerable percentage of people who take care of their site to some extent without deep understanding of its mechanics. The site might have been created by a company for a client who does not know much in this sort of stuff. In this case, your ability to search for information on the Internet will enable you to warm up the hearts of mighty number of people who can add your link on their sites.

What I am talking about here is trying to get to the bottom of the problem before contacting the webmaster so that not only could you state the presence of it, but also could help with figuring things out. It's nice if you are into PHP and can crack any related problem without referring to World Wide Web.

If, however, you are not that sort of person, you might want to read some specialized PHP forums:

PHP Freaks
SitePoint PHP Forum
PHP Help
Codewalkers PHP-Related Forum

If the search comes up with a page which contains a following notification:

Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent by (output started at /home/zungahto/public_html/includes/joomla.php:836) in /home/zungahto/public_html/includes/joomla.php on line 697

you have enough information to be able to find a solution. Let's try to perform the following search:

site:forums.phpfreaks.com "Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent by"
site:sitepoint.com "Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent by"

Google comes up with as many as 4,350 and 4,700 results for forums.phpfreaks.com and sitepoint.com respectively, which is one damn mighty pile to browse through. You might want to look through the top 10 and send the links to the discussions you deem appropriate in your message. Another way to go is just simply send the url of the forum so that the recipient could start a new thread for themselves to address their problem exclusively. Of course it's not an exhaustive solution, but it will give the webmaster something to lean on. If you want to go hardcore though, you can plug in one of your company's programmers to give advice to the recipient (only I think it should be one hell of a good site to go into such extremities for a link).

Finally, check out this list of common PHP error messages. If you want to proceed with the idea of searching for a specific sort of error, you might want to read this one and then continue on with the search.

Let's assume I have chosen to proceed with the "use of undefined constant" error. I have some sort of solution already, poor as it is. (It’s in the document provided above). So all you need to do is search for this sort of messages:

"Notice:" "Use of undefined constant" "php on line" intitle:tours

And heeeere we go! 59 results.

5. Checking the Activities of the Website

Further on, the fact that an error notification has been around long enough for a search engine to index it means that the site is getting seriously out of hand and might have been completely abandoned by the crew, so before sending a message insure in some way that the site is still in business. I do it by performing these steps:

Site activity check

  1. Enter the query consisting of the advanced “site” operator along with the domain of the site in question. (site:phperrorsite.com)
  2. Collapse the list of the Google Search Tools under the "Show Search Tools" link on the left column of Google search result page.
  3. In the time selection section choose the past year option
  4. The options sort by relevance and sort by date will appear; choose the latter.
  5. Now pay attention to the date in the first search result. The more recent it is, the better. This, along with the number of the documents in the search results pertaining to the domain, gives you an approximate idea of what is going on with the site.

Remember, this is far from precise and I would be glad to hear of any other ideas about how one can discover whether a site has been abandoned or not.

6. Taking a Deeper Look into the Problems of a Website

You may also want to check whether there are any other php errors of one sort or another by performing a respective search query modified by the “site” search operator:

site:phperrorsite.com "warning:" [function." "php on line"

One does not simply...The higher the number of the documents found, the higher the likelihood that the site owners/editors just do not give a rat’s ass about their website and won’t probably respond to your message of good intention.

Now you have ensured that the site is still kept a close watch on by finding out that there is only one document with a php error, which, in its turn, happens to be in some secluded corner of the site and might simply have been missed by the webmaster. There is no excuse for a php error notification right above the header on the main page of a site. I think twice before contacting sites of that sort. Like, how could they have missed that and even gave time for a search engine to index it!?

7. Composing a PHP error notification email

Well, I guess I have fed you all I had on the subject. Now for the pivotal point – email composing. I guess it's one of the most popular subjects among SEOmoz blog writers, so I do not want to write something that has been written thousands of times before me. Try to check out the most recent article on the subject (at the time of this writing).

Nevertheless, here is my way of doing business. I hope this example might be of use to someone.

Subject: <recipient's name>, I have spotted a problem with your site.

HI, <recipient's name>

I was browsing through your site phperrorsite.com out of professional curiosity (I maintain an online hotel reservation site myself) and came upon a page that was obviously getting out of hand:

<the url of the page with a PHP error>

I understand how tiresome it might be to keep everything in line, so I have attached a document with possible solution to this <type of problem as specified in the error notification, "use of undefined variable", etc> problem.

There are also quite a few discussion on the internet pertaining to this problem, check them out if you will:

<the link to a thread on PHP Freaks forum on the subject>

<the link to a thread on SitePoint PHP forum on the subject>

However, I would recommend you to start a new thread on one of the forums laying down all the details.

Please drop me a line at your convenience; I would like to know how things worked out for you.

Best of luck with your work!

<your name>

You could omit some of the stuff like specifying the urls of forum threads. To keep it simple, you could just mention the page with the error and ask them to get back to you. After the reply, you can move on to asking for a little favor. Hopefully, you will be granted one!

Hi again, <recipient's name>

I am glad my message was of use to you. I guess we, webmasters, should back each other up when we can. We could learn a lot from each other.

By the way, I got this idea that maybe my hotel reservation services might be of use to some of your visitors. Hotel reservation and tour services go along quite well, don't you think so?

Please check out my site yoursite.com and if you of the same opinion, kindly add a link to it where you think it would be most appropriate.

I hope I do not impose you. It's just that it's so hard to stay on surface these days, if you get my meaning.

Hope to have a word from you soon.

Rock On,

<your name>

Well, I guess that's about it. It might not be the best message ever conceived, but it worked fine for me.

A thing to remember: I guess it's not a good idea to ask for a link in the very first message – wait for a little while in order to establish some sort of connection with the webmaster, and when you feel that you get along quite well – make your pitch.

Remember, if you do not get link – you still get yourself a grateful person who might do you a favor of one sort or another later on. So, not time wasted.

I would be glad to hear any suggestions for improving my messages!

A Little Extra: Contacting sites with enabled directory browsing in Apache

I have been trying to make the point that you should be creative and try different approaches based on something that has been done before. Helping webmasters to keep their site neat and clean is the core here.

So let's take a look at another method you could use as a reason for contacting webmasters:Apache Server Directory Browsing Enabled

Looks familiar, doesn't it? If you spend eight hours a day on the Internet (as most of us do), it's something you have seen a lot of times. And you probably know that there is something wrong with the site when you stumble upon something like that. And "that" can be called "directory indexing/browsing enabled in Apache server".

There is a whole movement of hackers excited about finding sites webmaster of which were reckless enough not to disable this default feature of Apache server. Having this enabled constitutes a great security risk to your website since there are a lot of ways in which the sensitive data could be manipulated. It can be even a lot easier for someone to breach your site if you are one of those guys who has a document with password for all of your accounts. Believe me, there is a lot more of those than you can think.

Besides, it simply looks untidy to find such page in Google results.

How to find sites with enabled directory browsing

There is a system and structure to everything. If you look at a couple of pages like the one on the picture, you will realise that there are constant values which never change. Here is what I use for finding such pages:

intitle:index intitle:of port apache server

The query comes back with 100% relevant results. (OK, let's say 95% relevant results just to be on the safe side)

But we do not want to contact random sites, do we? Almost all of us involved in a specific kind of business and we want to find sites relevant to it.

Assuming that my own site is dedicated to online hotel reservation, I modify the query as specified below:

intitle:tours intitle:index intitle:of port apache server

I come up with lots of tour sites around the world who have some security issues.

Here is what you want to do further on

You contact the webmaster (or anybody else involved with the site) and tell them to disable building of directory index by opening the apache config file "httpd.conf" and removing the word "indexes" found in it. After that you can gradually shift to the "quid pro quo" part of the conversation.Kudos

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