A 404 Error, or Page Not Found Error is a Client side error from a removed/moved page that has not been correctly setup. If you change the url structure or the url name, then you will get some crawl errors due to that.
When google crawls your page and finds domain.com/pageA, and the next time it crawls the site and pageA is gone because you moved it into a category folder. Now the post is located at domain.com/topic/PageA.
Then you will get a crawl error because you did submit a link to google with the sitemap. All you will need to do then is just create a redirection so anyone that does go to PageA will get sent to the live page that is located at domain.com/topic/PageA. 404 errors are also found if someone manually types in a address, or has a typo in the hypertext link. You have zero controller over that, but you can still set a custom 404 page to let them know.
Finding Crawl Errors:
In order to see what crawl errors google’s spiders have found on your site, you need to visit search console. Under the main Crawl menu on the left, you will see the sub menu of Crawl Errors.
If you have any errors, they will be listed below. Some of the pages you will see as an error are pages you don’t want to keep, so mark them as fixed regardless. This is more for you and your users experience, to make sure they don’t hit any dead pages.
Not sure how this came about with the post title, i must have accidentally pasted in the website that i tagged because i used a photo from them. Was not aware of it, and google crawled that URL and found a page error. I might have shared the link on social media with that format, cant recall – so lets go ahead and create a redirect for it.
Side Note: The Page Not Found is kind of ugly and Meh. A custom designed page would be the icing on the cake when you can make them laugh. Some funny examples are listed below in the drop down menu.
"Server Error Page Ideas"
Installing The Plugin:
Luckily there is an awesome WordPress plugin that will handle the task of finding any dead links for you. Also allowing you to create the proper redirect url easily from that page. The plugin of course is called “Redirection”.
Head over to the Add Plugins Menu and search for and install it.
Oddly enough they put this plugin’s menu under Tools, rather than settings for this one.
Creating the Redirection In WordPress:
When you are at the Redirections Home menu – If this is a fresh install, then you wont have any links below on yours. I already have a few redirection set in place.
Step 1: Create a Group
You will need to create a group before you can setup a redirection. Groups are just there to help you organize the redirects, as they can come up a lot over the years of doing webdesign work.
Ideas for Group names:
- Moved Post
- Moved Pages
302 = Temporarily moved post
404 = Dead page
Step 2: Redirection information
If you scroll to the bottom of the page, you will see the form to add a new redirection. The plugin assumes the broken link is from this domain, so you dont need to add the domain name into the source url.
Source URL: Location of the broken link
Match: URL Only
Target URL: The new final destination url
Step 3: The Redirection 404 Log
You will find the Redirection Log under the 404 menu. This is super helpful because it will show data if people are requesting an urls from your server that are 404’d and are not live. Super Helpful so you dont lose any live traffic, and increase the user experience.
Googles policies on 404’s