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How to Find and Fix Critical Website Errors

Critical errors damage your website’s credibility, usability and accessibility. You should carry out regular audits so you can an easily find and fix issues as soon as they arise. In this article, we show you how you can find and fix your website’s critical issues.


  • Background

  • How to fix errors with Ryte’s issue reports

  • Tips on fixing website critical errors

  • Conclusion


When a website grows quickly, and changes and modifications are constantly made, the probability of errors is always higher. Depending on the type and frequency of the errors, the accessibility and usability of your website can be severely restricted. If your website errors remain unsolved, you can expect a loss in rankings, and therefore visibility. If your users don’t enjoy using your site, this will send negative signals to Google, and this will be reflected in the SERPs.

An important part of website optimization is therefore to detect critical errors and correct them as quickly as possible. Some common critical errors include server errors, broken pages, and broken images.

With Ryte, you can easily find and fix technical errors on your site. The errors are ordered into 40 different issue reports and listed on the dashboard according to priority, so you know what errors you need to fix first. For every issue report, we provide a detailed explanation of what the issue is, and how to fix it.

How you can find and fix errors quickly with the issue reports

  • Issues are listed according to priority, so you don’t need to evaluate yourself what to fix first.

  • Issues are categorized according to SEO, website quality, or content quality so you know which team can help you fix the issue.

  • The issue list provides transparency as you can show stakeholders clearly what you are working on.

Find the list of issues under “Issue Overview”:

Figure 1: The list of issue reports in the Issue Overview

What issues can you detect in Ryte’s issue reports?

The 40 issue reports cover every website quality, SEO, and content issue that can affect your website. Here is a quick overview.

Issue reports regarding indexability:

  • Broken pages

  • Links to suspicious sites

  • Broken outbound content

  • Unsecure technology

  • Blocked CSS and JavaScript files in robots.txt

  • Broken, invalid, and cross-domain canonical

  • Broken redirects and pagination

  • Non-indexable pages

These reports enable you to find and fix all errors that are affecting usability, and indexability in search engines. Issues such as broken pages, links to suspicious sites and unsecure technology can give the impression of a badly maintained website, and can cause a loss of trust.

Broken redirects, canonicals, pagination, non-indexable pages and blocked CSS and JavaScript files in the robots.txt are issues that affect how your website appears on Google. The issues affect the ability of search engine crawlers to crawl your site, therefore affecting whether your site can be indexed by Google. Keep on top of these issues to ensure users find your website on Google, leading to more traffic and conversions.

Issues regarding content

  • Pages with a low word count

  • Duplicate content

  • Duplicate meta descriptions, page titles, h1 tags

  • Pages missing facebook and twitter previews

  • Pages with a missing file type

These issues help ensure you are providing your users with relevant content, which is vital for website quality and rankings, as Google rewards websites that provide users with sufficient added value. Duplicate meta descriptions and page titles affect your click through rate on Google, and duplicate content can lead to confusion from search engines and users regarding what the most important page is, meaning a less important page may rank higher. Ensure every page has unique content, and a descriptive and unique meta description and title. Get higher rankings, a better click through rate, and ultimately more traffic and conversions.

Figure 2: Duplicate Content report


  • Images missing alt tags

  • Layout and design errors (broken css)

  • Broken images

  • Broken javascript files

Assets such as images, css files and javascript files play an important role in user experience. Images illustrate your content and provide added value especially when illustrating a particular point or product. Alt tags provide context to users when images are not available. JavaScript and css files ensure your website’s layout and dynamic elements. If these are issues with these files, users will not see the correct layout. Find and fix these issues to ensure your users see your beautifully designed website and images, leading to happier users and more conversions.

Multilingual settings

  • Invalid or broken hreflang attributes

Correct multilingual settings ensure that the right version of your website is displayed in different countries, particularly important for ensuring a successful internationalisation strategy. The reports regarding multilingual settings show your broken hreflang attributes, and hreflang tags with errors, so you can ensure the correct version of your website is displayed to users.

Link structure

  • Pages without incoming follow links

  • Pages with few internal incoming links

  • Pages with a long click path

  • Internal nofollow links

A good link structure ensures your pages are easily accessible to both users and search engine crawlers. Find pages with internal nofollow links, with few internal incoming links, and pages with a long click path that are difficult for users to access.


  • Pages over 1MB

  • Pages loading more than 1 second

  • Pages without compression

According to Google research, 53% of mobile site visitors leave if a page takes longer than 3 seconds to load. That’s why it’s so important to ensure your page speed is fast. We show your pages over 1MB, pages loading more than 1 second, and pages without compression to help your find the root causes of slow page speed so you can fix them before your users notice.

How to fix your most critical issues


All error messages with the status code 4xx indicate a problem with an incorrect request by a client. For example, the requested document cannot be found by the server (404 not found) or the server denies access (status code 401). The server might also output the code 401. In this case, the resource has been deleted or is no longer available. An accumulation of 4xx errors can lead to a negative user experience, resulting in increased bounce rates and a short dwell time. For Google, these negative user signals can indicate poor website quality.

How to fix broken pages

So now you’ve found your critical errors, how can you go about fixing them? If you have any broken pages, you should first check whether your server delivers the correct page in this case. Then you could redirect the pages concerned to a more current or suitable URL via 301 redirect. It also makes sense to have an individually designed 404 error page that encourages your users to stay on your website. Here we have presented a few solutions for 404 pages.


A 5xx status code indicates a server error. The user or the Googlebot then receives this error message and cannot access your page. The usability and crawlability of your web project are therefore strongly affected, which can have a negative effect on your rankings or even the indexing of your URLs. You can also monitor the availability of your server with Ryte. You can find the report “Server Monitoring” under Quality Assurance or Web Performance.

How to fix 5xx errors

If there are errors with the server, there are different possibilities about how to go about solving the problems. Firstly, you can check the configuration of the .htaccess file. Errors in the text file can lead to possible 301 forwarding or other instructions not working and to server errors with the code 5xx. However, incorrect configurations on the server are also possible. If you do not maintain your server yourself, you should contact your webhoster if your server is frequently unavailable.

Broken images

Images increase the usability and attractiveness of a website. If these images are missing or if a client can no longer access them, functionality and user friendliness are restricted. For Google, defective images, similar to inaccessible links, can be an indication of a poorly maintained page and a poor user experience. The result could be a downgrade of your website.

How to fix broken images

If browsers or the Googlebot can’t find images, the link to the image source is often broken or the corresponding resource is no longer available. With the “Critical errors” report under Quality Assurance, you can check the status codes that output your picture files.


Although search engines are now able to read data from Flash files, very few browsers automatically support this file standard. The majority of mobile phones and tablets cannot display Flash at all. If Flash files are used on a website or the entire website is even based on Flash, this means a very negative user experience for the majority of visitors. For Google, Flash pages mean a very low text-to-code ratio, which ultimately makes the site of inferior quality.

How to fix problems with Flash?

If your page is based on Flash, we recommend switching to HTML. This allows you to design your site responsively for all end devices and to optimize it perfectly for search engines and users. You can now replace individual Flash elements with HTML5.

Further reading tip:

We have compiled all important information about status codes and their consequences in this article.


Websites are dynamic entities that require appropriate technology to function. Problems with the server or unreachable URLs and resources can always occur. It is important that you recognize them early. With the Ryte “Critical errors” report, you have the right tool to quickly find and fix the most serious website errors, ensuring your users have a happy experience on your website.

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Published on Oct 18, 2020 by Olivia Willson