Our website is up and running fine but a WordPress plugin is broken (we can't fix it very quickly) so a few hundred pages show server errors.

The pages would load header and page of the page body but stop halfway and does not load sidebar/ footer at all.

These pages are not 404.

My question is how big the impact of these servers errors are in terms on SEO and traffic.
There are 500+ pages with server errors according to Google Webmaster while we have 14,860 index pages.

1 Answer 1


Google, Bing and Yahoo do not dislike 404's as many people like to believe. Its actually natural for many sites such as Forums, Blogs, and so on which remove THREADS from spammers and so on. A 404 Error means that your site is returning the correct value.

A page that can't be found and returns no results, and no error will damage your rankings more than having 1,000's of 404's

You should try to resolve this problem as soon as possible, or at least put a 404 on those pages.

  • Thanks a lot @bybe, I think I will remove those pages and make them 404. Just to be very sure, how bad do you think my situation is currently - 500+ pages with server errors as reported by Google Webmaster?
    – ericn
    Jan 9, 2013 at 2:37
  • 1
    A 503 (Service Temporarily Unavailable) status might be more appropriate than a 404 in this instance. And return a Retry-After header with a date you want crawling to resume.
    – MrWhite
    Jan 9, 2013 at 20:30

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