November 27, 2023

404 Errors: Google's John Muller Explains When to Fix and When Not?

What does Google think about 404 Errors? When Should I Fix 404 Errors? And When should I ever care about them?

Google’s John Muller has explained how fixing 404 errors on inbound links can waste time.

John Muller explained in a Reddit discussion about fixing broken links and the time one spends resolving these issues.

404 Errors, Google Explains When to Fix and When Not?: eAskme
404 Errors, Google Explains When to Fix and When Not?: eAskme

Inbound 404 Broken Links Reddit Discussion:

jefferymr15 asked on Reddit if it is possible to locate broken 404 links the same way one identifies expired domain names.

He wants to understand if fixing the inbound broken links or broken backlinks from other websites is necessary.

Finding Broken Links for Free: eAskme

How do you find 404 Error-broken links to fix? John Muller’s way

John Muller responded that you can check Google Analytics to see the inbound 404 pages. You will find the sites linking to your website or domain name. This way, you can identify if the site is a proxy or getting some traffic.

Another way to visit server logs is to find which search engine bots are crawling those links.

Google John Muller Explains When to Fix and When Not: eAskme

John Muller Advise When Not to Fix 404 Error Pages:

John Mullers said it doesn’t make sense to fix 404 error pages.

You need to stay regular. Do not get alarmed when you see 404 error pages. There needs to be more SEO value to fixing 404 error pages, but it takes a lot of effort.

Why Some 404 Error Pages Should Be Fixed but Others Shouldn’t?

John said that it is easy to find and fix 404 errors. But You want to save time fixing 404 errors.

He advised that it is a waste of time to fix 404 error pages.

What he doesn’t say is here.

Inbound 404 Error Pages to Active Pages:

If you have broken links from inbound pages, those will become 404 error pages. You must fix them with a 301 redirect.


Because your internal pages are linked to other working pages that need traffic. 301 redirects will fix 404 error pages in internal links.

It will also help to reduce bounce rate.

You can also check 404 error pages in your search console report.

Inbound Broken Link to removed Pages:

You will see these issues when an old page is removed. There is no need to fix these 404 error pages.

Redirecting the 404 error page to the homepage or another relevant page will not be helpful.


John Muller clarified when you should redirect 404 pages and when you do not need to fix them.

It is best to focus your energy and time on other important SEO aspects than just error pages.

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