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This was probably discussed a lot of times, but I just don't know the technical term to search for this.

Situation: Let's assume there are many external links pointing to pages in a certain domain A (e. g. links in blogs or forums pointing to documentation and guides of a software product). Over the time, some of the contents and pages within domain A are vanishing, renamed or moved - but the external links to those contents still remain.

Now users that click on those external links will get a 404 error and in their subconsciousness they will associate something bad with the domain A and the products they are selling :)

What would be the common way for the domain-administrator to record the amount of 404 calls and the requested "paths" (i. e. the concrete page, that the user requested) for example if all sites are hosted within an apache-webserver?

Having this information it would be easy to maintain the quality of a web-appearance which will improve user experience and probably also rankings in search engines. Thanks a lot!

  • 404's do not lose customers trust in products or services as they are fairly common and the vast majority understand what a 404 purpose is, sadly, not so many webmasters. If the page no longer exists then 404 is generally the accepted response. From a user experience standpoint, you can increase that by adding automating internal search results based on the keywords found in the URL of the 404 or offer a search input and button. If you want to find 404's on external sites then you use Majestic SEO, Ahrefs, Bing Webmaster Tools and Google Search Console to name a few. – Simon Hayter Nov 21 '18 at 18:42
  • You can however 301 redirect 404's to similar pages, but if your plan is to redirect every single 404 you come across, then your going to end up dampening user experience and likely to pee off Google in the process. – Simon Hayter Nov 21 '18 at 18:43
  • @SimonHayter: For me it is unpleasent if I google something and the first shown link in google is pointing to a 404. And I don't want to redirect anything. The question is more a technical one: How can a webmaster track the original call/link, when the 404 page is called and count the number of calls. Just to get an overview and to see where content needs to be reworked. – and0r Nov 22 '18 at 6:44
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This is a common issue with sites, generally speaking there is not much to do here and 404 wont have a negative impact on your site.

Every time a 404 link is being picked by Google, you should be able to find that link on the Google console.

The most efficient ways to battle 404 is a good optimized 404 template, people often underestimate the power of a good 404 page and how it can convert leaving users to converting users.

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