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I am looking in to Google Webmaster Tools - Crawl Error section.

How should I handle for those URL due their system / application showed invalid URL.

e.g

http://www.example/images/products/s_=enlarge_16gb.jpg

but, I dunno what happen to yahoo groups, it break the link into

http://www.example/images/products/s_=
enlarge_16gb.jpg

and I only make the top part become hyperlink, which is

http://www.example/images/products/s_=

Because of the URL, Google show crawl error, I got few error because of this kind of result or because other people typo error.

How do I prevent this. I am sure I don't have the right go and change other people post. What is the solution for this.

Thanks!

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You mention in the comments below that this particular broken link (http://www.example/images/products/s_=) is just one example of many. It might be beneficial to those answering if you showed more examples of correct/broken links. –  w3d Sep 29 '12 at 21:59
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3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted
+50

Ultimately, unless 404s are happening because something is wrong on your site (broken links, for example), there's only so much you can do about it. 404s as a result of URLs mangled by forums, email clients or simple typos are common and, for the most part, inevitable.

Of course, you want to minimise the risk of losing visitors to your site, so it's important to:

  1. Serve 404 pages with site branding, navigation, a search field, a site map... essentially, anything that might encourage the user to stay on your site and, ideally, find the content they wanted or something close to it.

  2. If you spot common errors that you can address with server re-writes, do so. For example, if simply omitting a trailing slash results in a 404, you could implement a rule that 301 redirects the user to the correct URL.

    To spot these common errors, make use of server logs, configure your analytics software, or regularly download and study errors from GWT.

Another approach, albeit not a technical fix, is that if you're getting a lot of traffic from a forum that's relevant to your site's niche, sign up and promote the site yourself with valid links. Just be sure to check any relevant terms and conditions to avoid annoying the forum moderators.

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Nothing wrong with having 404's on your site if they are appropriate.

If people are linking using a broken URL that's exactly what they should see.

Unless you can reliably translate that broken URL into the correct URL there is no other option. If you can do that - you can add a rewrite rule that would make quick work of it.

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I see two options:

  1. A custom 404 page that would help direct the user to the right content.
  2. Perform a catch-all redirect as you described on this url http://www.example/images/products/s_= - I'm thinking a 301 redirect.
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1. a custom 404 page, will help user to direct to a right content, however, this solution still will be exist in the crawl error page, which my goal is would like to totally eliminate it. 2. the example I give is just one of it, they got quite a lot of pattern, sometimes is because user typo error / or system do the line break wrongly. From my side, I don't have the access to edit their link. Is it the only solution I need catch-all and redirect it? –  Shiro Sep 27 '12 at 1:17
    
@Shiro: A 404 is not necessarily a bad thing in this instance - it is what it's for. If you are simply concerned about the 404 status code then your custom error document could return a 200-OK if you really really wanted - but this is probably more wrong! The only way to correctly get rid of these 404's is to perform some kind of intelligent redirect - if that is indeed possible. The solution is probably a combination of both... redirect what you can and custom 404 the rest. –  w3d Sep 30 '12 at 10:27
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