Take the 2-minute tour ×
Webmasters Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for pro webmasters. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I made a simple new website which went live about a month and a half ago (replacing the last one). The site contains new pages, like for example the navigation markup:

<div class="header">
    <div class="navigation menu">
        <ul>
            <li><a href="index.php">Home page</a></li>
            <li><a href="products.php">Products</a></li>
            <li><a href="reference.php">Reference</a></li>
            <li><a href="about_us.php">About us</a></li>
            <li><a href="contact.php">Contact</a></li>
        </ul>
    </div>
</div>

The problem is, that google crawlers keep looking for the old pages, which I removed and aren't on the server.

I keep removing the crawl errors (marked as fixed) in the webmaster tools, but the crawlers keep attempting to crawl those pages.

I believe that the last website version is cached somewhere, so is there a way to remove it? (I don't have a lot of experience with google webmaster tools.)

share|improve this question
1  
Do you redirect the old URLs to their new equivalents? –  Tim Fountain Aug 17 '13 at 12:25
    
@TimFountain I completely removed the old pages from the server, and I'm not using them anymore. –  Vucko Aug 17 '13 at 12:30

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

This is going to happen for a looong time. Other sites might be linking to the old URLs, which will prompt Google to crawl them and/or your site might just be having problems (in Googles eyes) and is giving you the benefit of the doubt that the pages might return. Either way, Google continues to crawl old pages for a long time. It would be far worse for Google to suddenly stop crawling your pages after getting a bunch of 404's.

If the pages genuinely do not exist and there is no alternative then it is correct to return a 404 (Not Found). Or you can return a 410 (Gone) instead for these pages that are never going to return - that is a far stronger/definite indication to Google that the pages aren't coming back.

Note that serving a 404 (or 410) for these pages, and having them reported as such in GWT is not necessarily a bad thing, and will not detrimentally affect your site in itself. This is a private report for your benefit.

However, what can be bad for SEO is if there are other sites linking to your old page that would have otherwise passed PageRank. By returning a 404, these sites will no longer be able to pass that PageRank. If you have alternative pages for those removed, then 301 redirect to the new location in order to preserve your ranking, help search engines re-index your content and ... to please your users. But if you have simply removed the old content and not replaced it then you need to be prepared to take the potential SEO hit.

share|improve this answer
    
So your saying that is ok that webaster tools gives 404 for those sites that aren't anymore on the server ? Does that effect in SEOing ( when I type the keywords in google search, my new website is ranked bad) ? –  Vucko Aug 17 '13 at 12:45
    
404's are completely normal if the page doesn't exist no more, the only time you should be worried is that if you have some good links point to pageB but pageB doesn't exist so no more so you lose out on those good links. So you'd 301 old link to new link, but only necessary if you have a large volume of links, otherwise 404 is perfectly valid. –  bybe Aug 17 '13 at 13:01
    
And will those errors effect in SEO ranking ? And is there a way to somehow remove in other pages link that are redirecting to pages on my site that doesn't exist ? –  Vucko Aug 18 '13 at 15:37
    
As bybe states above, the detrimental effect in SEO is if their are other sites that are linking to your old page. In returning a 404 you are no longer benefiting from any PageRank that the other sites would otherwise be passing to you. If you have a suitable new page on your site then you should 301-redirect requests for the old page to the new. (You cannot do anything else to influence the other sites links, other than manually informing them!) A 301-redirect will also help the search engines to update their index. –  w3d Aug 18 '13 at 16:04
    
However, if you have chosen to remove the old content and there is nothing related that replaces it then that is a decision you have made and should be prepared to take the SEO hit. A 410 is probably the correct response in this instance. The fact that Google is reporting a 404 in the GWT report is not itself a problem in terms of SEO - if it is expected - that is what I was referring to in my answer. I'll update my answer to clarify this. –  w3d Aug 18 '13 at 16:12

Maybe not the best or correct way to do this but I had the same issue. What I finally did was redirect to the homepage or a 404. I'd have to check to see if I still have the redirect but I no longer get the crawl error.

share|improve this answer
2  
This simply masks the error in GWT and does not benefit you. It is better to see the 404 in GWT - if it is indeed a genuine 404 with no alternative content. Redirecting, what should be a 404, to the homepage just confuses search engines and users. –  w3d Aug 18 '13 at 16:46
    
@w3d That's what I said. I redirected to a 404. I confused you by also saying 'homepage' because one of the redirects needed to go to the homepage cause that's what it was for. (It's complicated) –  Rob Aug 19 '13 at 3:57
    
Sorry, but that also confused me, since you don't normally "redirect to a 404". Often when people say that, what they are actually doing is an external redirection to a what looks like a 404 page and inadvertently returning a 200 status - which could potentially hide the crawl error in GWT (or it results in a "soft-404"). Apologies if I took your statement too literally, but it seemed ambiguous to me so I thought it was worth pointing out. –  w3d Aug 19 '13 at 7:41

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.