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Thursday, February 29, 2024

How to Handle 404 Errors in Search Console: A Google Guide

John Mueller of Google answers a query concerning hundreds of 404 errors found in the Search Console and offers suggestions for action.

John Mueller from Google responded to a Reddit user’s query regarding what to do with the hundreds of 404 errors that were discovered in Google Search Console.

John’s response made it clear how to handle the 404 problems mentioned in the Search Console Page Indexing report.

404 Not Found Response

A server will provide a 404 error response to a crawler (or browser) informing it that the requested webpage does not exist and that the server experienced an error retrieving it.

The webpage does not exist, which is the error.

It’s not a mistake in the sense that there is a problem to be fixed.

Nevertheless, there are circumstances in which action needs to be performed to remove those 404 errors.

Causes of 404

Among the most typical causes of a 404 error are:

A sitemap is a list of pages that have been removed.
Pages within pages link to pages that are no longer available.
URL on this webpage is misspelled.
No redirect was implemented, yet the content has moved.
Links on spam pages point to fictitious websites.
These are the first six reasons that immediately spring to mind. More reasons could exist.

The first five of the six reasons for 404 pages mentioned above are problems with the website that need to be fixed.

The final one, 404 errors brought on by external links to 404-not-found webpages, is something you may safely overlook.

Reddit query regarding 404 errors seen in Search Console
The questioner wanted to know how to resolve 404 errors that come from spam sites that point to thousands of bogus URLs.

The inquiry posed is as follows:

“Google sent me an email today regarding GSC repair validation. The majority of the solutions are for 404 errors that occur when a URL on my website does not exist.

Google wants me to “validate fix,” but it appears that spam sites have linked to pages on my website that are not there. I’m not sure how to proceed.

Do all the links need to be redirected to our homepage? Shall I simply let it go?

John Mueller responded:

“Ignore them, please. It is anticipated that a page to return 404 if it is not intended to exist.

In case you believe that the page should have existed, this mistake serves as a helpful reminder.

The Server Response For A 404 Error

It’s not always necessary to fix the 404 response, as was previously mentioned.

As John Mueller stated, if you are aware that the page is not available, the server is acting appropriately by providing a 404 response.

Some people don’t want a 404 result from their server. To ensure that there are no more 404 errors, they set a redirect to the homepage. However, that is not a recommended practice as it generates a soft 404 error.

The 404 is regarded as an error, which is the basis for that practice. It’s not a mistake. All it is is a response from the server.

The lesson is that a 404 error answer is appropriate when a webpage is not found.

Unless the 404 server answer is the result of an error on the website.

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