I ran an ahrefs.com report of one of my sites and noticed it has 2.6k backlinks, all with anchor phrases involving prescription pills which is not what the site is focused on. I know that if you get blasted with backlinks you have to manually disavow links. In this case I go to Google webmaster tools and notice that none of the 2.6k backlinks are showing up but we have 575 crawl errors all pages involving prescription pills that never existed.

I can't figure out why none of the backlinks are showing in Google webmaster or how to prevent all the fake pages from registering as 404's when they never existed in the first place.

  • It takes a while for links to show up in the Google Search Console (app formerly known as Webmaster Tools). They will in time. Being that these are all broken links, I am not sure they hurt you. Still, this may be a case where you will want to disavow the links. I often advise against doing this, so I suggest thinking about it for a day or two. The only reason why I mention it now is because of the prescription pills link being a serious indicator used to drop pages and sites from the SERPs. Do not worry about the 404's and let them naturally occur. Do not mark as fixed!!
    – closetnoc
    Oct 1, 2015 at 2:06
  • Thanks for the fast input closetnoc , i stayed away from the fix button but the strange thing is these backlinks came way back in Jan and on another site in april for both on webmaster tools they are not showing. I am showing about 20 links under Search Traffic > Links to your site Oct 1, 2015 at 2:14
  • A few links will not hurt as far as I know. If you are still getting 2.6k links, then I would consider disavowing the links- not sure, but you may be able to just enter the domain name the links come from. Often links like these come from very low quality spam sites that Google will not index. This may be why they are not showing up in the Webmaster Tools. However, if you are seeing broken links, then Google is hitting some of these links. For the record, Google Webmaster Tools can be extremely slow on showing links sometimes. Not sure why.
    – closetnoc
    Oct 1, 2015 at 2:24

1 Answer 1


What you can do with nasty 404's is turn them into 410's and then they will fall off of google's records faster than closetnoc anticipates. (ok, maybe not that fast, but at least acceptably fast).

If apache is the server that helps process your webpages and you have mod_rewrite installed, then in the document root, create an .htaccess file with the following contents:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule ^the-bad-link$ - [R=410,L]

Just replace "the-bad-link" with all the URLs google complains about receiving error 404 from. If it's too many URLs, then look for a pattern in all the URLs and create a regex (regular expression) out of it. For example, if every single URL starts with "enlargement" and has anything else in it and then ends with "pill" or if the url is "enlargementpill" then add the following in your .htaccess:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule ^enlargement(.*)pill$ - [R=410,L]

I think with RewriteRule you can replace "R=410" with a "G", but I'd keep with "R=410" to indicate the result status is a 410 which means gone.

  • Good point!!!!!
    – closetnoc
    Oct 1, 2015 at 2:34

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.