It is possible that you get a Bad Page (301/302 Redirect, 403, 404, 503 etc.) error in the hreflang checker when the page seems to work fine in your browser. What does this mean and why can that happen?
In order to check the page, it must be crawled. The Hreflang testing tool crawls the page with the user agent Hreflang.org Testing Tool. Sometimes the crawler finds errors and flags them. Here are some common ones:
- 301/302 Redirect: If the response was a 301/302 Redirect, the crawler will not follow the redirect. Hreflang tags must point to the final URL and not any URL that redirects elsewhere. See Redirects and canonicals cause many Hreflang problems for more information on redirects.
- 403 Forbidden: Some sites are configured to disallow unknown crawlers or any user agent with the word “crawler in it”. Some sites are configured to reject any HTTP requests from data centers (where the tool resides and make requests from). As a result, the Hreflang crawler may get a 403 Forbidden response while the page works fine for you in the browser.
- 404 Not Found: If the page does not exist, the crawler will encounter a 404 Not Found error.
- 429 Too Many Requests: Some sites may find the crawler too aggressive and return a 429 status code.
- 503 (Service Unavailable): If there is a server-side problem at the time of the crawl, it might respond with a 503 (Service Unavailable) HTTP status code.
To see the specific HTTP status code that was returned when the crawler requested the page, you can download the results Excel and look at the “All-Other-Errors” worksheet.