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Sometimes strange URLs pop up in Google Webmaster Tools. URLs that I know no one link to, like:

http://example.com/apple-app-site-association

My site is not about apple, apps or site association. I don't know why Google list it as a 404 in Google Webmaster Tools.

Anyway. Should I keep adding these kind of URLs as redirects to the .htaccess file when they pop up or should I just let it be?

From a SEO (Search Engine Optimization) perspective.

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    Never redirect spammy URLs you did not create. Leave it alone. As well, consider why these are showing up. It is possible that your site was hacked and presenting these URLs. Often, this is a two part process for hackers, create a working spammy URL and then create links to them. So these links are likely clues. This is something to consider. – closetnoc Jul 4 '16 at 15:57
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If you never intended to have such urls in your site and they truly mean nothing for you, then it's better to keep serving them as a 404 - a page that is not found - not existing in the site.

Use redirects if you used to have a page with important content, indexed and present in SERPs, that brings a lot of traffic to your site.

In the 404 section of Google Webmasters you can read for the 404 urls:

Googlebot couldn't crawl this URL because it points to a non-existent page. Generally, 404s don't harm your site's performance in search, but you can use them to help improve the user experience.

And the 404 read more in Google Support:

Generally, 404 errors don’t impact your site’s ranking in Google, and you can safely ignore them. Typically, they are caused by typos, misconfigurations (for example, for links that are automatically generated by a content management system) or by Google’s increased efforts to recognize and crawl links in embedded content such as JavaScript....


... 404s are a perfectly normal (and in many ways desirable) part of the web. You will likely never be able to control every link to your site, or resolve every 404 error listed in Search Console. Instead, check the top-ranking issues, fix those if possible, and then move on.

Generally you can't handle/redirect all possible 404's, it's impossible. Anyone may arrive at a page and type any url.

Also search engines crawlers always trying to discover new urls by following anything they find. Mistyped/misspelled links, javascript, external (from other websites) links, or try to discover content by combining url parameters, if a site is dynamic e.g. a CMS.

So make sure you have under your control things like above, using robots.txt, noindex, your content maintained and cleaned up, your software up to date, and use Google Webmaster Tools to monitor and manipulate as possible it is the google bot.

Update:

And as @closetnoc has noted with his comments, consider reviewing your website's health against being hacked - as if you are discovering many such urls this can be a signal.

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    I am concerned that the URLs may be a result of being hacked. Cheers!! – closetnoc Jul 4 '16 at 16:17
  • @closetnoc: That can certainly be a reason and my bad for not including this possibility in my answer. However usually such internal urls that are the result of a hack they return content instead of a 404. But it's definitely something the OP has to check and make sure his site is still healthy. – FFrewin Jul 4 '16 at 16:28

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