Posts Tagged ‘google search console 404’

Google Search Console – 404 Errors for Unknown pages

Wednesday, February 21st, 2024

When reviewing your Google Search Console –> Page Indexing –> Not found (404) error pages, you may be surprised to see page URLs that you did not create.

This can be confusing and concerning and there are several reasons why this might happen:

External Links

One common source of error is that other websites may have incorrectly linked to pages on your site that do not exist. This is common when there’s a typo in the URL or if the linking site uses an outdated URL that has since been removed or changed on your website.

Internal Links

Related to internal linking strategy, there might be broken links within your own site. These could be in your posts, pages, or even in your site’s template or navigation menus.

Sometimes, links are created automatically by WordPress plugins, and if those plugins are misconfigured or outdated, they might generate incorrect URLs.

Crawling or indexing issues

Search engines like Google use automated bots to crawl the web. These bots sometimes attempt to access URLs based on patterns they’ve detected on your site or elsewhere, leading them to nonexistent pages.

Malware or Hacking

In some cases, a site may have been compromised, and the attacker may have created pages or scripts that generate fake URLs. These URLs can lead to 404 errors when the search engine tries to access them.

Dynamic URL Parameters

Some WordPress plugins or themes might dynamically generate URLs based on user interactions or specific actions. If these URLs get indexed by search engines but are not intended to be standalone pages, they can result in 404 errors.

Migration or Redesign Isusues

If you’ve recently migrated your WordPress site or gone through a redesign, some of the old URLs that were indexed by search engines might no longer exist, leading to 404 errors.

    How to Address the Issue

    1. Check External Links: Use tools like Google Search Console to find the sources of these links. If they’re coming from external sites, you can try to contact the site owners to correct the links.

    1. Fix Internal Links: Audit your site for any broken internal links. WordPress plugins like “Broken Link Checker” can help identify and fix these.

    1. Implement Redirects: For URLs that have changed or been removed, consider setting up 301 redirects to the correct or new pages. This can be done using WordPress plugins like “Redirection” or by editing your site’s .htaccess file (for Apache servers).

    1. Regularly Update and Secure Your Site: Ensure your WordPress core, themes, and plugins are always up to date. Implement security best practices to reduce the risk of hacking and malware.

    1. Submit Updated Sitemaps: Regularly submit updated XML sitemaps to Google Search Console to help search engines understand the current structure of your site.

    1. Monitor and Manage 404s: Regularly monitor the 404 errors reported in Google Search Console and address them promptly. If certain URLs are generating 404 errors but should not be indexed in the first place, consider using the robots.txt file to prevent search engines from crawling those URLs.

Final Thoughts

    Addressing 404 errors involves both identifying the source of the problematic links and taking steps to correct or mitigate the issues. This not only helps improve your site’s user experience but also its SEO performance.