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How To Handle External Links Causing 404s


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7 replies to this topic

#1 seobarry

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 01:25 PM

Hi all,

I'm wondering what your opinion is on how to handle "bad external links". With bad external links I mean in this case external links that cause 404's in Google wm tools because the page they link to does not exist.

In some cases, I request the external link to be corrected, in other cases I might make a 301 redirect.

However, I have also cases like these, a 404 indicating that this url cannot be found:

www.mydomain/warning_this_is_english_domain_to_solve_this_problem_submit_site_in_atoall.com.html

This is clearly some way of spamming, the person that put this link online seems to hope that you take the suggested action after noting the 404.

What should I do with such a 404? I can think of three options:

- ignore it and do nothing at all so leave the 404 as it is
- 301 redirect the specified url to my homepage
- return a 410 (gone) header for this url

What would you do? I you have still a different solution please also share:)


#2 SelfMade

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 01:32 PM

Completely lost??

I mean what are you saying??

unsure.gif

#3 Randy

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 02:49 PM

I'm lost too. Are these links pointing to your site, but pointing to pages that don't exist?

Or are they pages on your site somewhere linking to other sites?

And you have your web stats hidden from spiders right? Hopefully requiring a username and password to see them?

From your question it almost sounds like Googlebot has found and indexed the web stats being produced by your server, and that further someone is spamming your stats in hope of getting you to look at their crap site. If that's the case I wouldn't bother with the spamming part of it. Just ignore 'em. But you should definitely make sure the bots don't have access to your local web stats package. Your server should give you a way to password protect that.

#4 qwerty

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 03:01 PM

A few of my sites have been getting that same sort of link lately. But I'm not worried about it. No people are going to follow the link. It's clearly just there for spiders (even if it's unclear what these folks are trying to accomplish), and as long as spiders get a 404 response to a request for the URL it shouldn't affect you in any way.

#5 Ron Carnell

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 04:16 PM

QUOTE
... that cause 404's in Google wm tools

That's actually one of the few times I consistently use Google's Webmaster Tools; to track and, where it's worth the effort, correct externally created 404's. Some I redirect, both to conserve the link juice and improve the user experience for anyone clicking on the link. Some I simply ignore, especially if the link has never sent a real person to my site. I'm afraid I long ago gave up trying to get the link changed. By the time you track down an email address and write the email, you've already wasted far more time than can be justified by the dismal rate of response.

Sending a 410 response code might be a good idea to try. It would, I'll admit, be nice to get them out of Google's WMT list just so I don't have to see them every month. I honestly doubt it would work, but it's probably worth trying? smile.gif




#6 seobarry

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 07:46 AM

thanks all, the SE's dont have access to my web stats or anything like that.

There is an external website that has a link on it that points to this page on my domain:
www.mydomain/warning_this_is_english_domain_to_solve_this_problem_submit_site_in_atoall.com.html


therefore www.mydomain/warning_this_is_english_domain_to_solve_this_problem_submit_site_in_atoall.com.html shows up in wm tools as a 404

What I wanted to know is how you would deal with that taking into account the possible impact on SEO because Google seems to deem 404s as something negative (which is of course true but not so much in cases like these because you cannot help it).

qwerty and Ron have indicated how they deal with it, are there more opinions?

#7 hegu

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 12:30 PM

QUOTE
What I wanted to know is how you would deal with that taking into account the possible impact on SEO because Google seems to deem 404s as something negative (which is of course true but not so much in cases like these because you cannot help it).


I know what you are saying . Yes, it is very annoying. Most of these links are pointing to our sites are posted by bots or some kind of automatic program and webmaster don't worry about the links at al ...

This is how I deal with it: add all these pages as 301 redirects to home page. (Yes after sometime Google drop those URLs from its wm tools and add different links it found.) Annoying it is ... But that is the only way I redirect traffic from those nosense links.

#8 qwerty

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 12:58 PM

Just out of curiosity... Do you check your logs to see if, once you've redirected those URLs, anyone actually requests them? I figure that if these links are published on machine-generated pages that nobody but bots ever see, then nobody but bots ever follow the links. If that's right, I don't even see the point of setting up redirects.

I suppose that with the redirect in place, your home page could eventually get some credit for the link, but how much link juice could these pages possibly have to offer?




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