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  • Writer's pictureBrent D. Payne

Not Found (4XX) URL received search traffic

The situation we are analyzing involves a web address that has been returning a HTTP 4XX status code, yet it has been noted that this URL has received traffic from organic search through connected data from Google Analytics and Google Search Console.


Why is this important?

When a web address issues a 404 (Not Found) status, it indicates that the page cannot be found. This scenario can lead to a frustrating experience for users who arrive at non-existent pages via search engines, thereby tarnishing the user experience and the image of the brand they were seeking.


What does the Optimization check?

The Optimization will become active for any internal web address that shows a certain number of clicks in Search Analytics or visits in Google Analytics, but returns a HTTP 404 (Not Found) status code.


This data is sourced from Google Search Console and Google Analytics through API, relevant to the connected Property/View for a chosen date range.


Examples that trigger this Optimization:

Take the following URL for illustration: https://example.com/page-a, which has recorded some search traffic.


This URL would cause the Optimization to activate, given that it is encountering a 404 (Not Found) response as shown below:

HTTP/... 404 Not Found...


How do you resolve this issue?

It's important to recognize that the traffic data we have is historical, whereas the crawl analysis was performed in real time. It could be that the URL was previously active and has only recently been taken down.


If that's not the case, it’s clear there is an issue with a page that is not accessible yet is receiving search traffic. Make sure all pages are returning a HTTP 200 (OK) status code to ensure they are accessible through search engines.


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