How to Remove 404 Errors in Google Search Console

Fix Crawl Errors in Google Search Console
If you having issue with 404 Error in Google Search Console, this tutorial is for you! Follow the Steps to Improve your Website Usability and Organic SEO.

The Framework is as Follows: Despite your efforts, Google lists 404 errors (And other types of HTTP Errors) in the "Crawl Errors" report in your website Search Console Account.

Is 404 Error Bad For My Website?

How to correct them and make HTTP Errors disappear from GSC?

Do 404 Errors Bad For My Website SEO?

Here are the explanations provided by Google:
In general, 404 errors do not adversely affect your site's performance in search results, but they can help improve the user experience.
In the help, you will find additional tips:

They often occur as a result of typos or configuration errors, for example in the case of links generated automatically by a content management system. They can also be the result of the growing development of our services to detect and explore links in integrated content such as JavaScript.

This last sentence is not very clear, but basically we understand that Google sometimes seeks to access URLs that simply do not exist, but its interpretation of JavaScript codes makes Google believe that these URLs may exist.

I End with the latest tips from Google about 404 error:
It is quite normal, even desirable in some cases, to encounter 404 error codes on the Web. You will probably never be able to control all links that redirect to your site or resolve any 404 errors that appear in the Search Console. Focus on the most important issues, solve the problems you can, then move on to another step.

So? The purpose of my article is precisely to help you understand 404 error impact on organic seo and how to fix them.

My Point of View:

  • If a user land 404 page by clicking search engine organic result then you should fix the link ASAP. Because this 404 error (404 or other) will negatively impact your website search ranking.
  • If a page is in error 404 because of a link coming from other website, you can do nothing and it does not degrade your SEO performance. But if the link is coming from quality site, as long as it landing in a broken page, you're not getting any seo advantage of this link, so you should correct the link.
  • If you have too many 404 errors in your internal links, it degrades the user experience so you should fix them to improve user experience.

Steps to Fix 404 Errors

In your place, I would follow these steps.

Step 1- Fix 404 Errors Generated by Internal Links

If 404 errors are caused by internal links, they must be corrected because:

  • These errors degrade the user experience
  • These errors interfere with your SEO since a page does not receive the link you had planned to make
  • It's easy to detect and correct :-)
  • It will do a first cleaning of the list of errors 404 indicated in Search Console

Step 2- Fix 404 Errors Generated by Sitemaps

Use an HTTP header checker tool to check that each and every URL in your Sitemap actually returns a 200 status code (which means everything is OK). There should be no redirection.

If you are lost in all these codes: see the list of HTTP codes .

Step 3- Fix 404 Errors Generated by backlinks

Some 404 errors may be linked to backlinks, that is, links from other sites, pointing to a wrong URL on your site. To identify them, use your favorite backlinks analysis tool (Majestic, Ahrefs or Moz) and retrieve the list of backlinks pointing to a 404 error. Majestic has published an article on this topic, it's up to you to exploit it for your own Site instead of that of a competitor. If you do not arrive at all, and you ask me kindly , it is possible that I will do it for free ;-)

If the one who made the link was slightly mistaken in the URL, it is a pity and it must be corrected:

  • Contact the webmaster of the site that makes you the link in error to ask him to correct it. Introduce him in a positive way by explaining that he has a broken link on his site ...
  • If it does not respond, set up a 301 redirect from the wrong URL to the right one

Step 4- Fix other HTTP Errors

Once you have validated the previous steps, wait 1 or 2 weeks for Google to update your Search Console account. Next, see the Crawl Errors report, click the "Not Found" tab in the "URL-level Errors" sub-section.

Google lists Errors in Order of Priority, so enjoy.

If it's easier for you to manage the list in Excel, simply download the table in CSV format (or Google Docs). In the case of CSV, here are the columns that you will retrieve:
  • URLs
  • Response code: 404 for pages not found
  • Google News error: only applies to sites in Google News
  • Detected: date of first detection by Googlebot (the robot of Google)
  • Category: error type (here "not found")
  • Platform: Googlebot version encountered error (computer, smartphone or multimedia phone)
  • Last exploration: date of last crawl by Googlebot

Depending on the different cases that remain listed, you may need to repeat one of the previous steps. To see more clearly, you can check the box in front of the URL processed and click on the button "Mark as correct".

Tip : If you have a lot of errors, you may get to the limit set by Google, which is 1000 URLs. To circumvent it, simply declare a subpart of your site as a new property in Search Console. This technique works only if you have directories at the root, for example / blog /. In this case, you can declare as a new property; It will be validated immediately and you will be able to consult the list of errors 404 concerning only this directory. Convenient !

Redirect to the Reception: bad solution!

I still regularly encounter badly configured sites, on which in case of page not found we are redirected to the homepage. Do not do that!

Indeed Google's online help confirms that a web server must return a 404 code when a resource can not be found:
It is quite normal, even desirable in some cases, to encounter 404 error codes on the Web.

You may have configured a custom 404 error page (that's fine). However, check that the HTTP returned is a 404 code, and not 302 (temporary redirection). Use an HTTP code test tool on a non-existent URL on your site. If you have a 302 redirect, you may have specified an entire URL in your .htaccess file for the custom error page.

How often should you check for 404 errors?

You should be checking your 404s at least once every month and on a bigger site, every week. It doesn’t really depend on how much visitors you have but much more on how much content you have and create and how much can go wrong because of that. The first time you start looking into and trying to fix your 404 error pages you might find out that there are a lot of them and it can take quite a bit of time. Try to make it a habit so you’ll at least find the important ones quickly.

Need Help?

If you do not get there or something is not clear enough for you, feel free to ask the question in the comments