Increase in Not Found Errors in Google Webmaster Tools?


I got some notifications from the Google Webmaster Tools recently. Increasing numbers in both server and not found errors. Here is how I solved them.

How to get rid of Not Found Errors?

Either put the missing content back up or tell Google and any other service or visitor that it is gone for good. I’ve written an article on How to take a site offline through .htaccess, that’s what I used here.


Why do Not Found Errors happen?

In my case I once wrote a twitter clone for school and also blogged about it. Recently I cleaned out my database and deleted the tables I used for it back in the days. What I did not keep in mind was, that Google knew about this project, since I linked it, so when Google tried to re-index the site, it got a lot of 404/ 500 errors, since the database connection threw an error. This explains the curve and increase of not found errors, because the Google bot crawled through the IDs of all my ever submitted roars (the project was called roarer instead of twitter).

You can be in a position where you want to flag things as gone with all kinds of scenarios though. Maybe your previous CMS generated different taxonomies and you’ve taken care of redirecting everything to your articles again, but some things plainly don’t exist the same way any more, like when you migrate from Drupal to WordPress or similar.

Resolve not found errors with WordPress

The default WordPress .htaccess is here below and you can just append the Redirect 410 code to stop Google from trying to index content you don’t desire to serve any more.

# BEGIN WordPress

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^index\.php$ - [L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]
# END WordPress
Redirect 410 /projects/old_project


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