There is a few years old small website with very few pages (~5), which were indexed and ranked by Google. A few days ago 4 of those pages disappeared from SERPs and Search Console gives me 404 Not Found errors despite the fact that the pages are up and running. I didn't do any changes in header's crawler related meta tags and robot.txt neither.

Tried to submit a sitemap.xml but it gives me 404 error for that too.

What causes this problem?

  • 2
    "Search Console gives me 404 Not Found errors" - is that using the Fetch as Google tool? If that still reports a 404 then check your .htaccess file (eg. in case of hack that diverts Googlebot).
    – DocRoot
    Feb 25, 2017 at 12:50
  • 1
    @DocRoot You were right. This was the problem. You should give this comment as answer.
    – neptune
    Feb 26, 2017 at 14:44

2 Answers 2


If Google is reporting these pages as a 404 (and this has been confirmed with the "Fetch as Google" tool in Google Search Console), yet they appear to be perfectly accessible and return a 200 OK when visiting the site then check your .htaccess file for any suspicious code that might be redirecting the Googlebot.

If a hacker is able to inject code into .htaccess then they can very quickly destroy a sites ranking. Unfortunately, if they've been able to edit .htaccess then this might not be the only thing they have done.


Sometimes ssl certificate can cause the problem too. If your page is on https and you hadn't redirected it with .htaccess, it gives you 404 error.

  • Have you seen Google Search Console report of 404 error for an SSL error? Google is usually good at reporting the specific error. I would expect that to result in a crawl error of some kind, but I wouldn't expect a 404. Mar 8, 2019 at 17:57

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