I've been asked to look at our Google Webmaster Tools to fix the "Not Found" links contained within.

The first 404 problem I identified was that due to our WordPress multi-site environment, the canonical links being generated for all our sub-sites were incorrectly pulling from the parent blog, creating 404s. We have fixed this issue, but over a week later, the "Not Found" tab still lists all of these 404's, some of which were apparently crawled yesterday. I was expecting a severe drop of these errors, since they are no longer present in the code.

Is Google using cached versions of our pages to crawl? How can I help purge these from the list?

1 Answer 1


Once Google see's a link to a non-existent page, it will list that page in the 404's until it's removed from GWT. If the link to the bad page continues to exist, it'll be re-added. But it won't be removed simply because the faulty link has been removed from your site.

And yes, this can be a major pain in the butt, especially because GWT only allows you to remove I believe 1000 URLs per day. So if you have a lot of 404 pages, this can take a fair bit of time.

  • This is partially/mostly true (with respect). Google does keep track of pages that do not exist on your site. However, since a 404 keeps open that the resource may return, there is a number of tries over a period of time that the Googlebot will use before considering the resource gone like a 410 Gone. Once this happens, then the page will not be listed again unless a new link is found. Otherwise, Google will not bother you again over the bad link. Once a page is listed as a 404, it will take a period of time before it is removed from the list. It may be a month- I am not sure.
    – closetnoc
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 17:14
  • OK, so if I am reasonably certain that the vast majority of these 404's are bunk, can I just clear out all of the 404s from that list, and then just deal with 404's as Google finds them on a going forward basis?
    – FalseMaria
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 18:57
  • Yes, though like I said, it may take longer than you initially expect. Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 20:11
  • 1
    I disagree. There was an error, the report identified the issue, she fixed the error.... thus you use the "mark as fixed" button to clean them up from the report. The report doesn't have any affect on what Google crawls, it's simply to inform the webmaster of potential issues. If she's going to just ignore it, that's fine, but then just ignore it. She's clearly using it, so she might as well use it as it's intended to be used. Commented Feb 24, 2015 at 17:58
  • 1
    closetnoc - please provide a credible source for your statement regarding 'mark as fixed' in webmaster tools. Please do not get this comment requesting substantiation deleted as you did last time.
    – user29671
    Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 9:19

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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