What is a 404 Error in Google Search Console?

Just one of the many benefits of using Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) is that it allows you to easily see where errors exist within your website. Not only does this helpful tool show you where the errors are, but it also indicates which types of errors are present. In fact, Google Search Console provides you with a crawl errors report to give you a complete picture of the URLs that return any type of error code or that Google was unable to crawl.

What is a 404 Error?

One of the most commonly found URL issues is a 404 error. 404 errors are displayed when Googlebot tries to visit a URL that does not actually exist on your website.

How Do You Fix a 404 Error?

The good news is that the majority of 404 errors are not a big deal, and they do not typically impact your website’s ranking in Google. However, that doesn’t mean you want potential visitors stumbling upon error pages all the time. Following are a few tips for resolving your 404 errors.

  1. Correct any typos on your website that are leading to 404 errors. Whether you have a website with hundreds of pages or one with just a handful of pages, it is easy for anyone to have misspellings, and even the tiniest of errors can result in a 404 error. For example, if the URL is supposed to be http://www.pizza.com/cheese and you have http://www.pizza.com/cheeesee instead, there is going to be a 404 error. Correcting typos such as this is a quick and easy fix.
  2. Implement 301 redirects for typos from other websites. Since you don’t have control over how other websites link to you, there isn’t always much you can do about their misspellings. However, you do want internet users to make it to a valid page on your website. If you cannot get in touch with a webmaster to have the link connected, you can implement a 301 redirect to the correct page, so that http://www.pizza.com/cheeesee will send individuals to http://www.pizza.com/cheese
  3. Correct the links within your website that are going to missing pages. If the content now lives at a different URL, simply redirect the old page to the new page. If you have deleted the page content and no longer need it on your website, return a 404 or 410 error so Google knows the page is non-existent.
  4. Ignore the remaining errors. Since 404 errors do not negatively impact your website’s ranking or indexing, it’s typically not worth the time and effort to go through and fix all of them if they aren’t on major pages. You can simply leave the rest of the errors as they are so that Google can get a true understanding of your website’s structure and process it correctly.