Posts Tagged ‘Web Basics’

Google Removes The 404 Blinders

14 Oct

Google added a simple, yet extremely useful feature to its suite of Webmaster Tools. Now you can see who is linking to pages that don’t exist. And maybe, you can do something about it.

Example 404 pages in Webmaster tools

Previously, users could view which pages were not found, but had no information about where those links came from. With the addition of the sources, webmasters can change the link (if they own the site), or e-mail and ask nicely.

As Google’s Matt Cutts says, these are some of the easiest links you’ll ever get. No PageRank passes when someone links to a page that doesn’t exist, even when there’s an errant HTML tag in the URL. While asking someone to change the link may sound like a lot of work, it’s not, in comparison to scoping out new links. In the case of broken links, you know they want to link to you, so you’re just alerting them to a mistake.

If you haven’t checked out Webmaster Tools yet, this is a good excuse to look it over. If much of your traffic comes from Google (and for many of us, that’s greater than 50 percent), it’s important to know how it sees your site. Plus, fixing mistakes should make you look better to all search engines and, more importantly, your users.

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