Not found (404) errors in Page Indexing issues in Google Search Console can be fixed.
Not found (404) errors are thrown by Google search console for the following reasons: –
While many webmasters and beginner SEO professionals take it easy and leave them, we recommend to fix this issue before Google devalues your overall website. For sure, if they’re not too many, you can be leave them for a while. If there are too many 404 errors, Google decreases the overall crawl rate for your website.
Yes, it can be. A few of 404 errors doesn’t impact SEO, however, if you don’t fix the root cause and the list of 404 errors keeps increasing, the crawl rate is decreased which leads to poor discoverability and indexing of your content in search engine.
Yes, they can be fixed. It just takes time, an attention to detail audit, and patience with recrawl.
Fixing 404 errors need careful analysis of the root cause. Depending upon the reason of 404 error, we can fix it and validate it in search console.
If you have deleted or removed the existing page completely and there is no other replacement for it yet, add 410 response code to it. 410 header response indicates that the page has been deleted. Doing this, upon next crawl by GoogleBot, it won’t fall into 404 anymore and hence, not queued for recrawl.
Adding 410 deletion header to all 404 is not a good idea. Since there are certain 404 error pages which actually needs a redirect or replacement.
If you have created another page and want your users and search crawlers to crawl that new one, add 301 header response. 310 header response indicates that the page has been moved permanently to a new location.
If the movement is temporary, use 302 header response instead.
Handling Not found (404) errors for non-existent pages requires patience, effort, and time.
Normally it is suggested that redirect 404 to homepage etc. It is not a right practice always. What if the triggered 404 page actually needed a 410, 301, or 302? Again, this is the case when we knew what happened to the page currently with 404 error.
There are pages which we even don’t know about and we see them search console. That’s weird? Right?
Well. Deep down it is understandable.
Those were somehow discovered by GoogleBot. But how?
Either GoogleBot crawled a anchor link (probably internal link or backlink) having typo error in it or it was a query filter which was available as a link somehow.
This is annoying. I know. Finding typo errors in the internal links is hectic. On top of that what if that wrong URL is coming through a backlink or someone else linked it wrongly?
Generally in case of backlinks, it is hard to fix the link. If you have access to the backlink or 3rd party site, update the link. If you don’t have access to a broken link to your site coming from external site, just redirect it to the most useful, closely relevant, or the correct page. This means, apply 301 or 302 redirect to those broken and inaccessible backlinks.
In case of broken internal links, spend some time with QA team to test and validate the correctness of all navigational, categorical or sectional, breadcrumbs, footer links, and sidebar links.
For the internal links within post or article content, use a 3rd party tool like SemRush, Ahrefs, Moz, and similar to audit your website. If you have a site with thousands of pages, it may be expensive to audit website repeatedly. However, it works great.
You can also set up Analytics event to track visits on 404 pages, clicks on anchor links, and more. A custom 404 error reporting solution in Analytics is really helpful, however, you might need to hire a pro for this.
Once you have fixed the Not found (404) errors via aforementioned steps, do the steps below to mark 404 errors as fixed in search console:
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