In this blog post, I will share if the site owners should be worried about fixing the 404 issues of the Google search console. I will also explain the possible solutions for ‘404 Not Found’ issues reported.
It is worth mentioning here that 90% of the websites I work with won’t have fixable 404 issues and normally have a good reason to stay. Let’s find out what these “404 not found” issues are;
What is Not Found (404) Error of Google Search Console?
- 404 pages are the deleted pages that are discovered by Google at some point but found missing. Google doesn’t find any usual content on these pages so it reports a 404 page not found error. The 404 is just a code for the deleted URL/page like 301 is a code for a page with a redirect.
- 404 pages may have an explicit link in the website or they may be discovered by Google from third-party websites (external websites other than your website).
- The purpose of this error is to inform the site owners(Google search console property owner) about any important page which may be deleted unintentionally without notice. This way you can find and recover the deleted page before the search engines actually drop it from its index.
- In general, a 404 error doesn’t impact badly on the rankings unless there is a page bringing traffic to the website which was deleted. You can delete website pages intentionally for a strategic reason.
Let’s see what Google says about this error officially
Before reading out how to fix 404 errors, let’s have a look at what Google has to say about fixing 404 errors.
- Focus only on the important URLs that were indexed by Google and later found missing.
- You don’t need to focus on the alien URLs that google has picked from the other websites.
- If the reported page is valid and important for a site to recover then you can either recover the page from the web archives or website backup.
- You can set 301 redirects to the relevant page; so a user may be visiting the 404 not found page from search results and might benefit from the redirected page. This way the user doesn’t have to face the dead page. However, just keep in mind to set the relevant 301 pages so users don’t just find it unuseful and leave.
- We can also set 410 to signal google about the permanently deleted page.
- There is no quick way that we can fix the Google search console warnings if the page is deleted it will be removed by Google automatically. Technically we don’t have to worry about the intentionally deleted page.
Should we delete the Sale/offer/discount pages?
No, we should keep them as it is so once you have sales up and running you can get benefit from that. Google would easily pick the updated content. Shopping events like Christmas sale, Black Friday, Mother’s day, Father’s day, and Teacher’s day sales come every year. So it is not recommended to delete those pages.
Is it good to redirect deleted pages to the homepage?
No, ideally we should be redirecting the user to the most relevant page so the user can get benefit from that and the website can get better session time.
Still want to read more about 404, you can visit google’s official docs here.
Please contact us if you want more details or need any help on 404 issues reported in the Google search console issues