We're getting a ton of 404 errors in our GWT but they aren't actually pages on our site.

Before you tell me this doesn't matter, note: they are real pages and they do exist... just not on our site.

We're operating on a third party system. There's some central software/mechanism operating behind all the websites using this system. Basically, like, there are the following websites:

  • central-server.com (their sales website, basically)
  • user36633.com
  • some-other.user.com
  • user36633.central-server.com (not meant to be publicly accessed, is a duplicate)
  • some-other-user.central-server.com (same as above)

So basically... on user36633.com, we're getting errors for some-other-user.com.

My question: will this negatively affect our site? I found this 2011 Webmaster Central blog that says pages which do not exist do not harm your site. However -- these pages do exist...

  • Any information relevant to the question needs to be posted here.
    – John Conde
    Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 19:12
  • GA can do some funny things from time to time. Do you have different GA code installed on each site? This may be a factor.
    – closetnoc
    Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 19:13
  • @Closetnoc, the other sites are not my sites. They belong to other people, we are all just using the same third party system. It's also got to do with Google Webmasters, not Google Analytics (though if GA can affect GWT, that's news to me -- thanks for sharing).
    – user36633
    Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 19:20
  • My Mistake. Of course. I do not know what system is used. I have seen (very rarely) under rapid spider activity, Apache (for example) redirect traffic to the wrong site on multi-homed servers. Perhaps something similar is going on?
    – closetnoc
    Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 19:35
  • No worries. In all honestly, I'd rather not say what system we're using -- I don't think it's really relevant. Tiny system, someone might yell! But yes-- that is entirely possible? I know for a fact this third party system is using ASP.net.
    – user36633
    Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 19:41

1 Answer 1


In nearly all cases such as this, it is due to incorrect links that exist somewhere and based on your scenario, this will likely be coming from the centralised system which has an error linking to your pages but someone else's domain.

You'd need to see where these links occur from and try to resolve them. If Google are finding them, they are accessible and indexed somewhere on the web. Google Webmaster Tools should point out what is linking to these URL's that are showing as 404 errors in your account.

A high amount of 404 errors can cause negative implications although it is expected to have some for correct handling of non existent content in some cases. The fact these show against your account does mean that any implications (whether positive or negative) will be held accountable against your domain.

They might be real pages but in the eyes of a search engine or human that follows the links, they do not exist and they are not real. Try and identify what is linking to these URL's then you can determine a resolution.

  • Thank you @Geoff Jackson - zigojacko. "If Google are finding them, they are accessible and indexed somewhere on the web." This is most important to me, honestly. At this point I do not believe there is anything I can do to fix this (I have almost no access to the higher-level system functions -- FTP, .htaccess, and robots.txt, for instance, are not even accessible). I guess I am primarily seeking confirmation that Google and 404s work the way I think they work -- that is, that these 404s will have a negative affect on our site. This is in agreement with my position. Thank you.
    – user36633
    Commented Mar 4, 2014 at 18:25

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