Birmingham: This has occurred to most of us at one point or another. We begin optimizing a website’s URL structure or permalink slugs to be more user and SEO friendly and we finish up overlooking about an old URL that dozens of websites were by now linking to. As your old page no longer prevails, Google will possible drop it from the index and you will lose all traffic and authority that your old URL has attained since it has been published.
Making this blunder can be as simple as modifying your WordPress permalinks wrongly and forgetting to check if your old URL’s are being 301 directed to your recently modified slugs, or possibly you changed the filenames or paths within your website.
Luckily, with the help of a few technologies, we can begin to track down the links that are turning up 404 errors, 301 redirect them to their new permanent home, and reclaim the traffic and link juice that your original post had. What’s more, there are few solutions to aid spot which of your URL’s are turning up as 404 to your visitors and to search engines.
For those of you who are using WordPress CMS for your website, it may be worth checking the 404 Redirected, a WordPress plugin that detains 404 URLs from your visitors and from search engines and keeps them to your WordPress dashboard for review.
Once a 404 has been detained, it is as easy as picking which WordPress post the 404 belongs to (or an external URL), and it will create a new permanent rule to 301 that link automatically.
Attempt leaving it running for a few weeks and see how many 404s it picks up. You’d be astonished at how many people are linking to URLs that have been tailored or that no longer exist.
Google Webmaster Tools
Visiting Google Webmaster Tools must constantly be your first instinct when tracking down potential website problems. Luckily, they have taken tracking 404′d URLs into consideration, and checking for these is as easy as digging into Health > Crawl Errors to identify any 404 response codes that have been logged by Google.
If any of these URLs look known, it may be a great idea to redirect them to their new home using .htaccess or a 301 redirection plugin.