How to manage 404 errors with 301 redirects

When launching a website, don’t forget to setup 301 redirects to prevent (and fix) your 404 errors.

Managing 404 errors is very important (for several reasons) especially when you launch a new website. In this excerpt from Office Hours, we talk about how to setup 301 redirects and some pitfalls to avoid.


Patricia last week you had a problem with client site now getting indexed by Google. Oh, yeah. Let me see. Well, it was not it was was because it was previously set to no index and then when I launched from a previous person who did another site and when I launched the new site I said to him I said to index it and then it was um, let me see when I submitted it. It was it took a little while to let me see what it’s saying now. So I okay. So, um, it’s still it’s saying that something I don’t know if it has Doing it’s got a this is one issue for errors. So you’re in CSS validation has started so like when it finishes valid it because see it’s a sight. I don’t know like how Google is indexing and going to it. You know, you said it could take a while. So it is getting the main pages. So these are probably some sub pages that maybe aren’t getting traffic yet. You know, it still says on there, you know validating. So is there a point in time where it will say it’s done or does it just how does that work? So you’re in search console and Which report are you looking at in search come just looking at kind of coverage and it says for errors, uh-huh. Okay, so that is where you will see it, but you will see it go under the far right on top of the graph. You can hit the square on the far right that thinks it’s excluded. Okay, see how many pages it. Says are excluded. Okay, so excluded. Wow. Oh, okay. So these are so I need to look at these some more because it says that like 22, but see they I think they are ones that are not like the URL at some point changed. Yeah, so this is a 404. This is not a valid. So I need to go in and take these and do the the redirect well again, so I need to go to each of these do the redirect plug-in and find the correct one, right? Oh speaking of redirect if you are depends on who you’re hosting person is I realized when I was going over my website and doing some stuff. Did they have an option for 301 redirects in there? So you might not have to do the plug-in? Oh, okay, huh. All right, if you can do it through your host that’s a better situation. I’m the one because it’s one less plug-in to have to mess with. Yeah. Okay. Just however you have to our be just to make sure. That before you add or redirect you don’t audit accidentally already have it in there. Or you might create a loop where one redirect goes to the next and it goes back to the or a daisy chain when I call a daisy chain redirect, which is one redirect goes to one page and then that page gets redirected to another page. Okay. So every once in a while to good idea to review your list of Reader X just to make sure there’s no funny business, okay. If you look in the excluded pages in search console and they discover a redirect problem like that. They will warn you okay, but it but it can be really hard to find it in search console. They might say this page is a problem and you just like, where do I sign? Okay. Yeah, but if you do it on your host now, that’s even better you if you feel comfortable change during your htaccess file that Ali’s that’s great. Okay, hold on change be careful with that htaccess file because that’s super powerful. Is that something about break it that I can just do a redo my backup on it? Depends on your web host. Yeah, your WordPress backup would not have a copy of it. But your host backup should have a copy my first day doing SEO ever. Not a my boss gave me a list of Reader X add to the htaccess file. I looked at it and said. I think there’s an error on this he goes. Shut up David. I spent all night doing it. Just put it on the page. Do what I tell you six months later. Their website was knocked out of Google. because the air Our in the HDX is that I’ve had as you picked up an air and they told you to just just be about the work official word from my boss was shut up and do what I tell you. Holy cow. I didn’t work for them for much longer after that. Well, yeah. Oh my God, but that’s how powerful that htaccess can be. Yeah. So if you don’t feel comfortable with it go through. Yes, I’ll leave that one alone if you’re scared of it. I like What’s called the simple 301 redirect plug-in. I think it’s really easy. It’s some of them some of the redirect plugins are really cumbersome and huge. Unnecessarily huge but simple 301 redirects does exactly what it says. It adds a simply adds a 301 redirect. Okay, we can do it for my host. That’s also good as well. Yeah, like I know that site ground. Yeah, that’s our second round. Does it? Yeah, does it really well? Okay. I’m sure I’ll check with them. Yeah. We’ll do it for you or if you’re really nice. They might just add it to your htaccess file for yeah. Okay double check before you add just to make sure there’s no Loops because those can be really hard to detangle. Okay, so when you say check before we add any so like so like let’s say we have a plug-in and we have just been doing some things. Do I need to check some place else before? I add it to the plug-in? Sorry, I got distracted because I got a notification. So you’re saying to check before you add it’s it does that also not not only mean the host but also the plug-in. Yeah, if you have a plug-in which are already using then you you could be having one list in one place one listed another really hard and hard time keeping track of every so like it could be so I could be adding it to the plug-in but the host might already have something. Yeah, that’s what you To try to avoid okay, so and maybe a better practice would be to put all your redirects and whatever is convenient to you whether that’s a plug-in or your host or your HDX and okay. Okay, I’ll go into a host first if they offer it see if they’re already doing something like that. Yeah. Okay. All right. Well, I’m glad you asked that because making sure your 404 we directs our 404 errors are redirected is one of those really easy really powerful SEO things. Anytime you get a 4 of 4 that’s waste of Link Equity. Especially Tricia when you have an old site that’s been around for a long time that has audit link Equity. I tell you it’s well things just time to get a client because there’s missed I don’t know how Google must have been the little bot on it because this one hadn’t been indexed and nobody was linking to it. So it must have been the bot that picked it up so good.

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