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I noticed 403 errors on sub directories of my site while looking over google webmaster tools.

for example .com/reviews/ has a 403 error.

I set the default pages for the sub directories (pointed to the primary page in the directory). I believe this will solve the 403 issue (if I am wrong please let me know).

However I am wondering if this has any effect for SEO purposes ? Does google penalize for these 403 errors?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

IF you have links to the URLs that are returning a 403 error then you will leak whatever Page Rank that is being sent to that URL. Since Google is finding these 403 errors I assume something is linking to the URLs that are returning 403s.

However, unless it is your home page, it isn't going to be a huge SEO problem or loss of PR. Another good reason to fix something like this is that it creates a better experience for your users when they find a way to navigate to the pages that are currently returning 403 errors.

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