We cannot over stress how the Google Webmaster Tools are so useful and important as part of your SEO arsenal. Of course, one of the best uses for it is to find out what your 404 problems are caused by, among other things. The 404 error or “Page Not Found” is a common thing so you shouldn’t panic too much. But fixing it can be very hard or without the Webmaster Tools. There are other ways to do that of course, but using Webmaster Tools is the most responsible thing to do and we will talk about that in a little while below.
About The 404
As you probably already know, a 404 will happen if there is no page that comes up after the URL that is requested. The most basic or popular causes for this is that there might be a wrong letter or character in the URL or that there is really just no page that is connected to it, by mistake of course. The usual way this happens is when the URL redirect has changed locations, or possibly, has been deleted. Now, if your site has a ton of these 404 problems, then of course your readers or website audience will not have such a great experience with your site. And this is the reason why Google will penalize your site.
In order to locate the 404 error links within your website using Google Webmaster Tools, all you need to do is go the Crawl Errors part of the tool. Find the “not found” section and you will find the answers there. You might find that not all of these error items present big trouble for you or your website’s user experience and page rank score. Go through the links of the ones you suspect present big problems and fix them by using a basic 301 redirect if the page still exists. You could also fix this by correcting the destination URL if that is the problem.
I’ve personally had a lot of experience when just going through all these errors and fixing them will create more traffic for my website. There is no website that does not go through this type of problem and the older the site gets, the more of these will become apparent.
Why Webmaster Tools Is Better Than Server Logs
Now let us answer this important question that some of you might be asking. The answer is simple. This is Google’s tool and this will show you the way Google spiders actually crawl through your site. You will specifically find the error links that are being crawled. I don’t have to tell you how much insight this information can give any SEO specialist. Looking at the incoming links from the 404 errors, you might want to change the URL in place of a redirect because this will help you take advantage of the keyword relevance. And of course, finding out why these error come to be will help you avoid them later on.
Google tools might not always be the best thing to use. But the fact is that they can be vital to your campaign just because they are directly connected to Google.