404 errors on webmaster tools have suddenly come back

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  • Updated 5 years ago
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Last year, I found out there was an issue with Yola's blog pages and I had to delete thousands of pages, which left behind thousands of 404 errors on webmaster tools.

The issue seemed to fix itself over many, many months, the numbers slowly falling. Everything was fine. Now, suddenly, they've come back to haunt me. Something has happened at the start of April and I've got over 1500 404 errors again.

Does anyone have any idea on what to do or what is going on?

The URLs on pages that were deleted almost a year ago. I was helped by you guys back then, and went through all the steps to stop google from seeing them including new sitemaps.

I'm at a loss what to do. I don't like having issues I can't understand or explain. Can anyone help?
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Will

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Posted 5 years ago

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Stefan, Official Rep

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Hello Will

Do you mean that it's the same deleted URLs with which you had problems last year? What about repeating the steps with which we provided you last time? Google Webmaster sometimes needs users to resubmit sitemaps in order to update their data.

Also, we've found two links to websites about this matter that you may find helpful:
Please let us know if you still struggle to solve this problem on the medium-term.
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Will

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Hi Stefan

Yes, it's the same URLs from a blog I used to run on Yola. Issued come popped up last year and you told me that there had been issues with the blog section on Yola, so after trying a lot of things, finally I had it deleted, lost years worth of work and all the pages went. It took a very long time.

Then resubmitted a new site map, which Google seemed to ignore, and in the end went about blocking these page-less URLs, which took months and months and months. I'm not up for doing it all again, especially as it seems to not have worked.

Thanks for the links, sadly it doesnt help tell me why, suddenly, the phantom URLs are back and how to get rid of them.
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Stefan, Official Rep

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Hi Will

I'm still trying to find a solution for you. I've found your post from last year, but I couldn't find out what blog you were using. Are you referring to a Wordpress blog, so the same blog you currently embed into your website, or were you using the Yola Blog Widget at the time? So in other words, do the 404 errors refer to URLs from an old Yola Blog Widget of yours which you have removed, or do the 404 errors relate to your current Wordpress blog?

Can you maybe share one of the blog URLs for which you get the 404 error?
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Will

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I was using Yola's blog. There was some issue with it and switched to wordpress. Wordpress has been fine.

Yes, all the old URLs were from using Yolas blog widget. They have nothing to do with my wordpress blog that I have now. Nothing moved or came across from Yola to Wordpress.

Here are a few of the 1,500+ URLs

http://www.a-class-driving.com/bristo...
http://www.a-class-driving.com/bristo...
http://www.a-class-driving.com/bristo...
http://www.a-class-driving.com/bristo...

Hope you can help
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Emmy

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Hello Will,
Thanks for supplying some of the URLs that are giving a 404 error in your Google Wembaster account.

I first took a look at your sitemap here: http://www.a-class-driving.com/sitema... and checked for any of those URLs that you mentioned and they do not exist in the sitemap, so Google is not following broken links from your sitemap.

One way that 404 errors can show up in your Google Webmaster Tools account is when other sites improperly link to you. So if someone links to http://www.a-class-driving.com/bristo... from their site and that page does not exist, Google could follow the link from that site and the 404 error will show up in your Google Webmaster Tools account because www.a-class-driving.com is your domain and Google followed a link to your domain from another site and got a 404. So other sites can actually cause this problem with the 404s.

To see where invalid links are coming from, click the URL. In the error dialog, click the Linked from these pages tab. I'd like to know where Google is following these links from as it's not following them from your site or from your sitemap.

Let me know.

Thanks,
Emmy
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Will

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Hi Emmy

This could be the what it is I'm looking for. I've had a look at the first link posted above and this came back.

http://www.a-class-driving.com/bristo...

Linked from

http://www.a-class-driving.com/bristo...
http://www.a-class-driving.com/
http://www.a-class-driving.com/bristo...
http://seome.me/user/aclassdriving
http://www.a-class-driving.com/bristo...
http://www.a-class-driving.com/bristo... road
http://etaq.com.au/aclassdrivingschoo...
http://www.billion7.com/bizsearch.php...

So some URLs are still associated with me, but others are external. How can Google be following 5 of 8 URLs from my sitemap, but they're not in the sitemap?

Here's another one

URL:
http://www.a-class-driving.com/bristo...

Linked from

http://www.a-class-driving.com/bristo...
http://www.kozaro.com/www-mediasoup-g...
http://www.a-class-driving.com/bristo...
http://www.a-class-driving.com/sitema...
http://www.mediasoup.gr/node/51628
http://www.a-class-driving.com/bristo...
http://www.mediasoup.gr/node/51628?qu...
http://www.a-class-driving.com/bristo...

It actually says, half way through the list, linked from sitemap.xml!

So am I right in saying that places like, billion 7, kozaro and mediasoup I'll have to contact and see if I can get my content taken down?

Thanks again in advance.
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Emmy

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Hello, thanks for providing the information. Yes, some of them are coming from external sources and you would have to contact them to ask to have them removed. However, keep in mind that the errors in your GWTs account for 404s don't penalize you. I took this from one of Google's pages:

"Generally, 404 errors don’t impact your site’s ranking in Google, and you can safely ignore them."

In terms of them being linked from your sitemap, does it give a link to the sitemap? Have you looked at the one they link to for these URLs, I wonder if it is an old, cached sitemap. Have you resubmitted your sitemap recently?

Emmy
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Will

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Could this be anything to do with that within webmaster tools, when I first log in, I have two sets of data for pretty much the same site? One is just a-class-driving.com and the other www.a-class-driving.com.

I also have an old one with synthasite in the title, but it's unverified.

I use the www.a-class one. This is the one with my structured data, the submitted URLs, of which there are 104, 77 indexed. Plus all the errors, sadly.

The other one has 0 submitted URLs, no structured data, 0 errors but it still shows all the same data for search traffic, identical to the other site. All other data is unavailable and shows nothing. I just leave and ignore this one and let it collect dust.

Should I delete this? Do I need it? Always worried about deleting anything if I don't have to.

Could it be an out of date sitemap in these places, including the old old URL I used to use with synthasite in the title?
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Emmy

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Hello Will,
Are both of your individual profiles verified with your site? This could have something to do with that, I can't be positive. Did you set a primary domain in your Google Webmaster Tools account? Either the www or the non www version?

Emmy
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Will

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Hi

Both profiles are verified.

I had a check in the settings and the site with www has been set as the primary. Should I unclick? There is a option for do not set preferred domain.
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Emmy

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Hey Will,
You want to have a primary domain set. If I am understanding all of this, the www version of your site in Webmaster Tools is the one you use for your structured data. Is that correct?

Emmy
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Will

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Yes, the www version is my primary.
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Emmy

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Ok so the www is the primary domain set in Google Webmaster tools, this means that Google will index the www version of your domain name. In terms of having both profiles in your Webmaster account, you don't need both, you can delete the other. That said, I cannot say for sure that this will clear up the 404's that are appearing in the one account.

All of the current 404's such as "http://www.a-class-driving.com/bristo...", and "bristol-test-centre-blog/cheap-cars-that-look-expensive", these were at one time pages or blog posts on your site correct? I have done a search and they are not even existent in Google's index at this time.

What I would suggest is that you email Google Support with links to some of the pages that are returning the 404's as well as a link to your sitemap showing these pages are not in the sitemap as well as let them know you have looked and these are also not indexed pages from what you can see. I feel they could be referencing an old sitemap, however, that's not something we (Yola) could fix.

Regarding the links being followed from other sites, you'd need to contact them to let them know they're linking to pages that do not exist.

Let me know how all of that goes. I'm curious to hear what Google has to say regarding the referencing of an old sitemap and pages that do not exist in the index.

Emmy
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Will

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Thanks for all this. Can I just confirm that it will be safe to delete the other profile in webmaster tools. I'm not going to loose years and years worth of work am I?

I'll email Google. I emailed them last year regarding this matter and had no reply. I doubt they'll get back to me.