Updated on February 4, 2024
Finding and fixing 404 errors on your website is crucial for providing a seamless user experience and maintaining good search engine rankings. Google Search Console is a free tool provided by Google that allows website owners to monitor and analyze their site’s performance in search results. In this article, we will guide you on how to find 404 errors in Google Search Console, enabling you to identify and resolve these issues efficiently.
Understanding 404 Errors
A 404 error, also known as “404 not found,” occurs when a webpage cannot be found on a server. This can happen for various reasons, such as a broken link, a deleted page, or an incorrect URL. When visitors encounter a 404 error, they may become frustrated and leave your site, resulting in a poor user experience.
Why should you monitor 404 errors in Google Search Console?
Monitoring 404 errors in Google Search Console is essential for several reasons:
1. User Experience:
Identifying and fixing 404 errors ensures that visitors can access the intended content without any issues. This enhances user experience and encourages users to stay longer on your site.
2. SEO Impact:
404 errors can negatively impact your search engine rankings. Search engines, like Google, consider broken links as a sign of a poorly maintained website. Regularly monitoring and resolving these errors will help maintain a healthy SEO performance.
3. Link Juice Preservation:
When other websites link to your content, search engines value those links as endorsements. However, if the content linked to returns a 404 error, you lose the potential benefits of those inbound links. By fixing 404 errors, you preserve the link juice and maximize the SEO value.
Steps to Find 404 Errors in Google Search Console
Now, let’s dive into the steps to find 404 errors in Google Search Console:
Step 1: Access Google Search Console
First, log in to your Google Search Console account. If you do not have an account, sign up for free and add your website to the console.
Step 2: Select your Property
Once you are logged in, select the property (website) you want to manage and monitor for 404 errors.
Step 3: Navigate to the Coverage Report
In the sidebar of Google Search Console, click on “Coverage” under the “Index” section. This will display a detailed report of how Google crawls and indexes your website.
Step 4: Filter for Error Pages
In the Coverage report, you will see a list of pages with various statuses. To filter for error pages, click on the “Excluded” filter. Then, select the “Error” filter option. This will display a list of pages on your site that returned 404 or other error codes.
Step 5: Review and Fix Errors
Now, go through the list of error pages and identify the URLs that users are unable to access. Take note of any patterns or common reasons for the errors. Once identified, you can take appropriate actions to fix them.
Step 6: Resubmit Updated Pages
After fixing the issues causing the 404 errors, it is important to resubmit the corrected pages to Google for indexing. This will prompt Google to recrawl and reindex the updated pages, ensuring they are included in search results again.
Preventing Future 404 Errors
While it’s crucial to promptly fix existing 404 errors, it is equally important to prevent them from occurring in the future. Here are some best practices to help you prevent future 404 errors:
1. Regularly Monitor and Update Your Website
Regularly monitor your website to identify and fix broken links, outdated pages, or renamed URLs. Keeping your website updated and well-maintained will help prevent 404 errors.
2. Use Proper Redirects
When you move or delete a page, ensure you implement proper redirects. A 301 redirect redirects users and search engines to a new page, preserving their traffic and SEO value. This prevents users from landing on a 404 error page.
3. Check for Broken Links
Perform regular checks for broken links using webmaster tools or specialized broken link checkers. Fix or remove any broken links to prevent users from encountering 404 errors.
4. Implement Custom Error Pages
Create custom error pages (such as a 404 page) that provide users with helpful information and links to navigate back to the main site. This improves the user experience and encourages users to stay on your site even when they encounter a 404 error.
By regularly monitoring and promptly fixing 404 errors in Google Search Console, you can enhance the user experience, preserve valuable SEO rankings, and maintain a healthy website. Following the steps outlined in this article will help you find and resolve 404 errors efficiently, ensuring your website operates smoothly and effectively.
Who is Alizaib Hassan? Alizaib Hassan is a search engine optimization specialist. Alizaib Hassan: Automate SEO-related tasks using Python. Alizaib regularly attends webinars, conferences, and SEO-related events. He focuses on automation, data science, web development, entity-based SEO, marketing, and branding.