Every Google Search Console error [And solutions]

As the Technical SEO FAQ has become a little too long, this page lists all the error messages relating to the Search Console.

Overview of all questions:

  • Excluded by 'noindex' tag
  • Page with redirect
  • Not found (404)
  • Alternate page with proper canonical tag
  • Duplicate without user-selected canonical
  • URL blocked due to other 4xx issue
  • Soft 404
  • Blocked due to access forbidden (403)
  • Server error (5xx)
  • Redirect error
  • Crawled - Currently Not Indexed
  • Discovered - Currently Not Indexed
  • Duplicate, Google chose different canonical than user
  • URL blocked by robots.txt

Page indexing

Excluded by 'noindex' tag

What is this? In most cases, the noindex tag of the development environment was simply forgotten to be removed during a live launch or relaunch (this has happened at least 20 times). The instruction tells the robot that this page should not be included in the search engine index.

Lösung: Das Meta Robots-Tag muss entweder aus dem <head> entfernt werden (keine Anweisung = Indexierung) oder man ändert das Tag um, sodass es wie folgt aussieht:

<meta name="robots" content="index">

Pro tip: Clever developers sometimes work with the X-Robots tag on the server side. This must then be removed at server config level. You can find this by looking at the response headers of the documents.

Page with redirect

What is this? This URL is a redirect page. It may contain a 301 or 302 status code that refers to another page.

Solution: Here you can decide for yourself how you want to handle the page. If you know that the redirect should be like this, nothing else needs to be done here. If the redirect shown is not desired, you must edit the redirect in your CMS, the .htaccess (Apache) or the nginx config.

Not found (404)

What is this? The classic, the page was not found. 404 here officially means that the page is not there, but will be available again soon.

Solution: Make sure she reappears 😉

If you want the page to disappear forever, work with the 410 code (=gone) instead.

But be careful: The 410 errors are also listed in the Search Console under 404s, don't get confused.

Alternate page with proper canonical tag

What is this? A page was found that refers to another page using a canonical tag. For example, a category page with a parameter that points to the naked URL of the category page.

Solution: This message is more of a hint, as Google's canonical mechanism is working correctly.

Duplicate without user-selected canonical

What is this? Similar to its predecessor, pages are listed here that are obviously duplicates of other indexed pages. The only difference is that Google has not found a canonical tag and has decided for itself which page is the original.

Solution: Simply go through the list here and decide for yourself whether there are any URLs that should be indexed. If yes, set a canonical tag on the corresponding content types.

URL blocked due to other 4xx issue

What is this? The page throws a 4xx status code that is not a 403, 404 or 410. It is usually a 400 error, which means: Bad Request. This usually means that the crawler has received an incorrect URL.

Solution: Identify the exact error code in the Inspect Tool and fix it or make sure that this link is not accessible by the crawler.

Soft 404

What is that? "The best 404 is not a 404" is what some developers think. A soft 404 displays similar, unhelpful content as a 404 page does. With the small difference that a 200 is displayed (= OK). Google penalizes this because the 200 pages eat up crawl budget without providing any added value.

Solution: If you are displaying pages with a 200 code, make sure that there is also good content available. If the page in question really only shows "Article not available", enter a 404 code.

Blocked due to access forbidden (403)

What is this? The 403 error means "Forbidden" and indicates an authentication problem. These are usually links to user areas or links to internal development environments.

Solution: Check the server permissions if the page is incorrectly inaccessible. If it is a page that you do not want to make accessible, find the links to the page and remove them.

Server error (5xx)

What is this? Google's absolute nemesis, the "Internal Server Error". There is a problem on the server side, PHP errors are usually responsible for this in small systems such as WordPress (90% in functions.php).

Solution: Take a look at the server logs and fix them. Priority 1.

Redirect error

What is that? These are usually forwarding chains that never end.

Solution: Fix the corresponding redirect. You can track and limit the redirects in the Chrome Dev Tools.

Crawled - Currently Not Indexed

What is this? Google has already crawled you and has you on its screen. Either you still have too little patience, too little crawl budget or no trust with Google.

Solution: The solution here is usually: Wait. To speed up the process, you can increase the page quality and work with internal links to this page.

Discovered - Currently Not Indexed

What is this? Similar to its predecessor, with the difference that Google hasn't even crawled the page yet.

Solution: See previous solution. However, this error/hint tends to appear on pages that Google attributes less trust to or if Google simply has too many URLs in the queue.

Duplicate, Google chose different canonical than user

What is this? Google has decided on a different canonical URL than you originally suggested. This error is actually a big red flag, as Google distrusts your canonical tags and decides for itself.

Solution: Take a look at the list and ask yourself why Google doesn't like your canonicals. From experience, I can say that it is almost always due to a faulty trailing slash configuration.

URL blocked by robots.txt

What is this? The URL is excluded from crawling by a directive in the robots.txt file.

Solution: If the URL is incorrectly blocked, you need to adjust your robots.txt. You can find your robots.txt report here: Search Console. And you can easily test it at technicalseo.com.