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Google Webmaster Tools is reporting a crawl error "404 (Not Found)" for an .html page which has never existed on a web site I developed. The page being reported is "tyuiabmog.html", which doesn't sound like it was named by a human!

Please could someone help me to shed some light on how Google came across this non-existent page and why it is trying to crawl it?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I believe that Google, and other search engines, do this to discover what the default 404 behavior of your web site is. They visit a randomly named page specifically because it does not exist, so they can differentiate a 404 page from a normal page that should be indexed. This helps them correctly crawl servers who don't return a 404 status code, for example.

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Thank you, that makes sense if that is indeed what is happening. I will monitor Webmaster Tools to see if the error eventually clears. – Andy Bowskill Apr 20 '11 at 20:04
Wow, I never knew that! Thank you for sharing that. It would be so ironic if Google chose a url that is published by a complete fluke! Why, however, would Google report it as an error or even report it at all? – Melanie Shebel Apr 20 '11 at 22:54

It is possible that some page (on your site or outside) is linking to that file on your domain. Because that file doesn't exist you are getting a 404 error.

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+1 This typically occurs with malformed links to one's site (i.e. http://example.com/page) from an instance in which someone posted (http://example.com/page) and a content management system automatically parsed the link; tyuiabmog.html doesn't fit this pattern but GWT should report where the link originated in any case. – danlefree Apr 21 '11 at 7:44

I've seen this kind of error pop up before in a faulty rel canonical tag.

Find the 404 error in Webmaster Tools and go to Linked From. Pull up the Linked From URL, and view the source on that page. Make sure to search the source for the 404 error link - it might be hidden but it should be there.

I've also come across a 404 page linked from a 404 page in Google Webmaster Tools. I don't know what to do with that.

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When a page is reported in WMT, it means that their bot actually tried to scan this page normally. When clicking on the error, you can see where the page is linked from. There may be invalid links to your website all around the web and you should research it and possibly notify the owners of these websites if relevant.

Seems the selected answer refers to how bots try to find out your 404s but this isn't what the question seems to be about.

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