Common WordPress Errors Which Can Harm Your Website’s SEO

At present, almost about one-third of overall websites on the internet are powered by WordPress Content Management System. The reason is quite obvious for those who have used it, for others, WP is quite simple and easy to use with plenty of customization available and a very large developer community as well.

As it is, for the newbies and inexperienced bloggers with little or no technical knowledge, WordPress is the first choice to host their blog or website upon. And even though, blogging or running a website is mainly considered about putting up regular content. You have to use social media for promotion, optimize the content for search engine crawler, and build relevant links.

While doing all the above, most of the site owners forget about one thing, i.e. technology. As much as WordPress takes your hands off the technical aspects, there are still a few things remaining for you to take care of. And if something is wrong with the technological base, the entire framework is in trouble i.e. websites.

Modern SEO

While not paying attention to site errors can be harmful to your website’s ranking in the search engines, avoiding them like a pro could boost up your position in SERPs. Below are some common WordPress related errors that any search engine doesn’t like to come across and neither does the reader.

  1. 500 Internal Server Error: General HTTP error code, when something unclear is wrong with the server and it’s behaving in an erratic haywire manner.
  2. 404 Not Found Error: This happens when a requested URL isn’t found i.e. an URL that exists in SERPs but no page exists upon itself.
  3. Crawl Errors: These happen if the search engine bots are blocked or unable to crawl each page of the website.
  4. 502 Bad Gateway: This is mostly due to miscommunication between two servers. Can also happen due to your network as well sometimes.
  5. 504 Gateway Timeout: It’s a delayed response code i.e. when a server doesn’t reply promptly, this error code is displayed to the reader.
500 Internal Server Error

As stated above, these are server related errors and are displayed when there is unclear trouble with your server. Unable to divulge into further specific information, you can though figure out whether it is due to some technical glitch in the code or some fault in the hardware itself.

Check to see if you are having this problem with static files such as images, video, CSS, pdf etc. In which case it is definitely a hardware fault except when it’s showing this error permanently, then it could be due to a server misconfiguration. Sitemap going down on a regular basis can also mean this as it’s a static XML file itself.

Then, you should check for corrupt .htaccess file, exhausted PHP memory limit, and re-uploading core file in the ‘wp-admin’ and ‘wp-includes’ folder from another fresh WordPress install. For more related help, you can connect with the WordPress support staff as well.

404 Not Found Error

This happens all the time for so many reasons. A slight misspelling can cause this, so does an inbound link to a deleted page. Whatever the reason may be, coming in front of this error is not a good user experience and certainly not good for its ranking. Mainly it can be attributed to two different types:

  • Broken Links
  • Non-existent pages

If broken links are your concern then you can use many popular available tools such as Xenu, Screaming Frog etc to crawl the web for them and then fix them accordingly.

However, if pages are your problem then you can either redirect them to some other related page/homepage and/or restore them if they were accidentally removed.

An interesting concept is those of soft 404 errors as well. These aren’t real 404 errors per se, but Google treats them same regardless. These errors are recorded in the Google database for pages with duplicate or thin content. In other words, pages Google doesn’t seem worthy to index on its search engine.

Crawl Errors

We often block the bots of some crawlers such as ahrefs etc to avoid our competition spying upon us but what happens when the search engine crawling bots are unable to find their way through our WordPress site.

When this happens, all this get reported in the crawl errors section of your Search Console. It’s further divided into Site errors and URL errors. This way you can prioritize them and deal with them on an urgent basis.

WordPress errors can negatively affect your SEO

Now site errors can be caused due to a host of reasons. It can be due to DNS timeout or DNS lookup issue. Or, it can be due to an overloaded server and delayed response time. At the very worst, it can be due to a misconfigured robots.txt or .htaccess file. Based upon further diagnosis of them, you can try to fix them.

URL errors, on the other hand, are mainly caused by what we already discussed above i.e. 404 errors. Apart from that, they can be caused due to Google running into issues such as javascript, redirects etc. Or, it might be due to access being denied to Googlebot, mostly due to the page being secure with only authorized access.

502 Bad Gateway

This error as self-explained by the name happens due to an invalid response to a query. There is no fixed reason as to why it happens. Sometimes it’s due to a technical glitch in the server or a network issue, other times it can be largely due to a pertaining issue such as conflict within your WordPress plugins etc.

There are a couple things that you can do initially such as reloading your website, clear browser cache, temporarily disable any CDN or firewall that you have. If nothing else works, then you try to update your WordPress theme and plugins. Or, try deactivating them and see if it resolves the error.

Still getting the issue, better contact your hosting provider as well.

504 Gateway Timeout

This is nothing by an example of delayed response due to which a server times out waiting for a response from another server. This can happen due to lots of reasons such as an overloaded server with heavy traffic etc. Not always you will get the exact same error code, but a variation of it at times, but they all convey the same meaning in a nutshell.

Nothing to worry about if your site is down for only say about 10-30 minutes, search engine crawlers will deliver it from the cache and wait for your site to restore itself. But if it is taking a long period of time such as 5-6 hours or even more, than the crawlers bot might think of it does not exist anymore and remove it from top results or even worse deindex it.

Like earlier, you can try disabling the CDN/Firewall that you have, deactivate your plugins to clear conflict, it could be also because your site is down due to some DDoS or spam attack as well which you can prevent further via a good security plugin. Nevertheless, the most common reasons for this on WordPress are server-related issues.

Most of these server issues occur due to heavy traffic overloading on sites, mainly because of poorly configured or badly optimized site server. To avoid this, we recommend using ServerAvatar on your WordPress websites. There are a couple more issues which can cause this such as a slow server, fewer PHP workers, firewall issues, network connectivity, HTTP timeouts. These are best resolved by contacting your host.

WordPress Site Maintenance Checklist

Nobody has time to regularly keep checking his/her site to keep track of such stuff and then concerned precautions as advised. The best you can do is to keep checking for a few things on a regular basis and you will be tension free for the most part of it.

  1. Keep checking your code in the validator regularly should any anomalies or irregularities might be included in it.
  2. Never, not even for trial purposes enable this checkbox in your WordPress site settings – Discourage search engines from indexing this site’.
  3. Try not to tamper with .htaccess or robots.txt file. And, if for any reason you have to do that, then make sure that the code you are using is certified and validated for the purpose you intend to use it too and nothing else.
  4. Apart from tracking your site’s ranking in tools, it’s good to sometimes visit it from user’s perspective. Or, to just browse around it to see if things are working as they should.
  5. Instead of waiting for search engine crawlers to go through your sitemap, you should make it a habit of instead of doing it yourself. And submit your site’s sitemap to Google Search Console.
  6. Schedule a daily backup of your site in case of emergency. You can easily do so via free plugins or go for any paid options available as well.
  7. Site’s loading speed must be good and loading time preferably within 1-2 seconds of the request. To ensure this, you need to optimize your site speed and choose a good reliable host.
  8. To give the user a better experience and faster loading times, it’s recommended to enable caching of your WordPress site.
  9. Keep checking for any broken links or dead pages linked to your site and try to replace them as soon as possible.
  10. As far as looks are concerned, try not to do it too heavy. Too many elements can slow down your site speed and make it lag. Choose a mobile friendly responsive design.
  11. Multimedia elements such as images, gifs, videos etc that you upload and include on your site, compress them as much as possible without compromising with the quality.
  12. Lastly, but not the least, the theme that you use and plugins you install on your site have a major effect on everything else too. Avoid using nulled or demos and only go for trusted reputed sources, nothing else. Apart from it, always try to keep them updated to the latest version and get rid of those which you don’t use it at least once in 1-2 months.

If you do all of the above, chances are that you will never again run into some kind of error that may affect your site negatively. Odds are very minimal that your site will run into some kind of technical error if you maintain it regularly and look after it in a proper way. Most of such errors only affect us in a major way if we let them keep happening and not fix them the first moment we get to know about them.

Did you come across any of the above-mentioned ones in the past? How did you deal with it? Any other freaking error that troubled you? Maybe some other point that we forgot to mention and you can be a buddy and remind us. Let us know in the comments.

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  1. This is such an informative blog. I am highly impressed with your work.

  2. Hello there,
    You have shared very informative blog, it really helped me out.
    Thank you for sharing this post.

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