Do You Care About Your Website’s Externally Linked 404 Pages?

In this blog post I will be writing about some technical topics that bring a different approach. It’s about technical SEO, using free tools like premium, external links, 404 pages, and user experience. Confusing? Then let me explain something.

We know many premium SEO tools like SEMrush, Moz, Ahrefs, etc. These tools help to improve Google’s organic search performance — do we agree? I can guess. Various options with multiple metrics, metrics are essential because they have a meaning.

Last year Rand Fishkin started a survey on Twitter interested in paid SEO tool suites. As a result of 1,600+ attendees, SEMrush is the first premium SEO tool that is used by industry. I select SEMrush, too, because there are no other options. What are the alternatives? Google Search Console.

That is why I’m here. I will be glad to share one of the essential experiences in my SEO journey. Now, we will approach to using free tools like premium.

Why do we need to use the Google Search Console?

If you need to explore official and unique reports like Index Performance, Links, which come from external, internal crawl errors, and a lot more, Search Console is the best free SEO tool.

In that case, I will show you one most important report. It’s about external links that are coming to our website’s landing pages. What if 100+ external links come to a “404 Not Found” page? It’s unfortunate from the user experience side, and you will see that results on Google Analytics’s “bounce rate” report.

Doctor Who

Yeah, I don’t talk about internal 404’s pages. It’s about: “Top linked pages — externally.”

Google Search Console (GSC) - Top Linked Pages - Externally
Source: Google Search Console

Google Search Console — Links > Top linked pages — externally.

Now you get all externally linked pages reports. What do you do with it? Search Console doesn’t show that pages are 404 or another status code.

How to identify status codes of externally linked pages?

Here are many choices but I will explain one of them. Use Screaming Frog SEO Spider, free or paid (the free version will be crawling max 500 URLs). If your report has more than 500 URLs, you can do something like put into pieces (lifehack).

Best Couple — Snoop Dogg & 50 Cent

I guess you already opened Screaming Frog SEO Spider; now we need to do a few sets.

  1. Menu > Mode > List
  2. Upload > Paste (?)

You need to paste “Target page” URLs from your .csv file.

External Links (Target Pages)
.csv file — ” Target page” section

After you paste the above URLs to Screaming Frog SEO Spider, your crawling will be starting. Now the crawling of your URLs is finished, and you will see a report as the following.

Screaming Frog SEO Spider - Status Code Report
Screaming Frog SEO Spider — List Mode

What now?

Export your report, filter “404” status code landing pages, and use 301 redirects for a new indexable page.

Why do we need to 301 redirect “404 Not Found” pages?

To make better User Experience also means a better organic ranking.

UX Playbook Ranking SERPs - SEJ
Source & Details:

Roman Adamita

Coming soon.