Google Search Central Creatively Clarifies Common Web Errors

A creative Google Search Central blog article may lift the mystery surrounding the impact of common web errors for website visitors.

Google Analyst Gary Illyes illustrated – literally and figuratively – the reasons behind different types of web errors reported in Google Search Console (GSC).

Once Upon A Time

Illyes employed an entertaining storybook format with cartoon illustrations to explain four types of errors in a divergence from the usual Search Central blog format.

Using the destination of a castle library, Illyes aimed to demystify how each common web error affects user experience.

It all begins with the dream of building a castle library.

The tale emphasized that just as obstacles can hamper a visitor’s journey to a castle, different kinds of errors interfere with website accessibility and search engine rankings for your visitors.

DNS Errors Star Represent Outdated Directions

In the first chapter, DNS errors embody outdated directions or maps that don’t reflect the current layout of your castle.

This could lead your visitors down the wrong path or keep them lost within the castle walls, unable to find the library.

In the real world, these occur when a DNS server doesn’t have the proper website location.

Depending on how well you know your server, you can manage this issue independently or work with your DNS provider/domain registrar.

It boils down to whether you can draw a reliable map for visitors to find the castle or if the task would be best suited for a professional map maker.

Network Errors Become Obstacles On The Visitor’s Quest

The next chapter reveals network errors as obstacles on the visitor’s journey. Imagine they reach the castle, only to find the drawbridge does not descend across a treacherous moat filled with monstrous creatures.

In the real world, network errors generally occur due to firewall settings or a router going down between the client and the server.

The website owner must identify the blocking component near the server or at the content delivery network’s (CDN) end to navigate this obstacle for visitors.

Like creating a reliable map, this may be a task best handled by the CDN or hosting service managing the website.

Server Errors Damage The Library’s Treasure

Once the visitor reaches the castle library, what will they find?

Server errors symbolize a library that has suffered significant damage from water or fire. In the real world, these are problems within the website’s service.

Website owners should try the server manager or hosting provider when server errors arise. Until this is resolved, more visitors may leave the castle empty-handed.

Client Errors Depict Unaccessible Information

The final chapter dealt with client errors like 404s and soft 404s,  painting them as the wrong requests made by visitors.

They are not wrong in the sense that the visitor made an error. But it’s comparable to someone going to the library to find out the book they wanted has been checked out or possibly misplaced on the wrong shelf. Either way, it’s unavailable to them.

Here, website owners can assist users by redirecting the URL. Ultimately, visitors may visit a different library where the desired book is readily available.

The Saga Continues

The post ended by inviting further questions and comments from readers, directing them to Google Search Central’s X account, community forums, and documentation for more in-depth conversations about web errors.

Understanding these errors and how they affect Google Search Rankings can profoundly impact the visibility and accessibility of a website, factors critical to online success.

Finding the remedy to errors reported by GSC can ensure fast and safe passage for your visitors to your website, allowing them to acquire the wealth it offers.

Featured image: Szabolcs Magyar/Shutterstock