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How to Resolve ‘not found (404)’ Error in Search Console

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A 404 error occurs when a web page is not found on the server, negatively affecting user experience and SEO. This straightforward guide will help you resolve ‘not found (404)’ errors in Google Search Console effectively.

Step 1: Identify the Problem

Start by locating the 404 errors in Google Search Console. Log in to your account and navigate to the Indexing section. Click on “Pages” to see the list of search console errors. 

Look for errors labeled “Not found (404).” This will list all URLs returning a 404 error. Additionally, Google sends an email notification if this error appears, so check your inbox for alerts.

search console - not found error

Step 2: Analyze the Cause

Understanding why these errors occur is essential for fixing them. Common causes include deleted pages, incorrectly submitted URLs, and typographical errors.

To determine the root cause, check if the URL exists on your site and review recent changes or deletions.

Step 3: Fix Deleted Pages

If a page has been deleted, you have a couple of options:

  1. Redirect to a Relevant Page: Set up 301 redirects to send users and search engines to a new URL. This preserves any SEO value and ensures users find relevant content. You can set up redirects using the .htaccess file for Apache servers or plugins like Redirection or Yoast SEO for WordPress sites.
  2. Create a Custom 404 Page: A custom 404 page guides users back to relevant content and reduces the likelihood of them leaving your site. Include a search bar, navigation links, and a friendly message to help users find what they’re looking for.

Step 4: Correct URL Errors

For errors caused by incorrect URLs or typographical mistakes, follow these steps:

  1. Verify and Correct URLs: Use the URL Inspection Tool in Google Search Console to check the status of the URL. If there is a mistake, correct it on your website.
  2. Resubmit Corrected URLs: After correcting the URL, request indexing using the URL Inspection Tool to prompt Google to re-crawl the URL and update its index.

Step 5: Prevent Future 404 Errors

Implementing seo best practices helps prevent future 404 errors. Regularly monitor Google Search Console for new 404 errors. Maintain a logical and consistent URL structure and always set up appropriate redirects when removing or moving content.

Step 6: Track and Report

Tracking and reporting ensure the errors have been resolved:

  1. Tools like Google Analytics can help you track 404 errors and their impact on your website’s performance. Set up custom reports to monitor these errors. You can create a custom report or use pre-made ones to identify the frequency and source of 404 errors.
  2. After resolving the 404 errors, use Google Search Console to validate the fixes. This lets Google know that the issues have been addressed and that the URLs should be re-crawled.

Conclusion

Fixing ‘not found (404)’ errors is crucial for maintaining a healthy website. By identifying and analyzing the cause of the errors, you can take appropriate steps to resolve them. 

Regular monitoring and best practices will help prevent future errors, ensuring a smooth and efficient user experience. Keep your website in top shape to maintain strong SEO performance and user satisfaction.

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