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How Badly Hurt Am I From 404S?


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7 replies to this topic

#1 TextRepublic

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 11:20 AM

My website is on a Windows server which is causing me a lot of issues with trying to get 301 redirects onto all the 404s I have. Basically the webmaster says its almost impossible to sort out the 404 pages without moving to a Linux server.... this in itself is troublesome due to the many emails and domains that are already there.

 

My question is am I really being hurt from my 67 different 404s? I have gotten 3 different messages from Google in my Webmaster Tools alerting me to an increase in 404s. Should I definitely go to the effort of moving servers and fixing the 404s or is it more of a guideline from Google and not that big a deal in terms of rankings?

 

Your help as always is very much appreciated.



#2 torka

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 11:37 AM

Why is it impossible to sort out the 404s without moving to Linux? I'm not sure I understand. I used to manage an IIS server and had no problems setting up 301 redirects. While it's not as simple as adding a line to a .htaccess file, it can be done. (Just out of curiosity, why are there that many 404s to start with?)

 

--Torka :propeller:



#3 TextRepublic

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 12:43 PM

There have basically been a few different iterations of our site and the people in charge of the previous iterations never bothered to do a clean up at every new release. At the last release (for which I was in charge) I asked for all 404s to be sorted out but my developer said he could not handle it on the Windows server.



#4 Jill

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 12:54 PM

My question is am I really being hurt from my 67 different 404s? 

 

Probably  not. But if they're to URLs that have lots of links from other sites, then you're losing that link equity.


But if they're just silly mistake URLs and don't bring traffic you don't have to worry about it. 



#5 qwerty

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 07:36 PM

IIS can be a bit of a pain. For example, its out of the box setting for "not found" errors is to 302 redirect to the 404 page.

 

But it can be dealt with. Even if, for some reason, you can't set up the redirects in the management console, there are ways to add the header response, including the URL to which you want to redirect, to the pages themselves. If the pages don't exist, you can create them just to have them redirect that way.

 

If Chris Hirst sees this thread, I'm sure he can tell you exactly how to do it.



#6 torka

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 11:51 AM

As I recall, that was the painful part when I had an IIS server... the pages had to physically exist on the server even to use the management console to redirect. I would hope in the intervening years somebody has fixed that, but I doubt it. What I did Back In The Day was to create a generic blank page, which I just cloned and renamed to correspond to every 404 page, then used the management console to set up 301 redirects to the new page where I actually wanted people to end up.

 

As I say, it was a pain, but it could be done. And with only 67 AWOL pages, it wouldn't even take all that long.


But, as Jill says, they probably aren't hurting anything. If that's the case, you can just ignore the situation and it will eventually resolve itself as Google gradually figures out those pages really have gone away for good. The only thing is, if somebody somewhere has linked to those pages, Google will keep coming back, as long as they keep seeing that link. So if you know of any links pointing to those pages, do your best to get the linking page changed to point to a currently active page instead.

 

--Torka :propeller:



#7 imexperttools

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 02:58 AM

I do not think that you would be hurt just by having some 404 pages on your site. If you want to avoid losing traffic then you can modify your 404 page to place a search box which encourage to visitors to search for other information to your site. Or a sitemap would be useful, too. Or in the extreme case, you can redirect all the 404 pages to your homepage to get more traffic but that is not recommended.



#8 chrishirst

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 11:20 AM

If Chris Hirst sees this thread, I'm sure he can tell you exactly how to do it.

 

Yep - The 'smart' 404.

 

http://www.highranki...e-2#entry242355






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