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WMT Bug - Showing 404 that do not exist
AnkitMaheshwari

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3871941 posted 5:01 am on Mar 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

From past week or so I have started to see some strange reports in my WMT. It has started to report 404 errors that do not exist anymore (they were earlier). Upon clicking the link to find pages that link to them, I find the cache date of 1st week of Nov-08 adjacent to those pages, when all those pages are indexed with in a span of last one week itself.

Also, in the content analysis tab, it is showing short titles and descriptions for pages, say www.example.com/file.html while when I click on this page the link points to www.example.com/file (without .html) and throws a 404. BTW, the page (www.example.com/file.html) do exist and has title and description which is not short or long.

Is this a bug?
Has anyone else experienced the same?

 

AnkitMaheshwari

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3871941 posted 5:30 am on Mar 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Further, now the 404 count has increased to 200+ while content issues are also increasing with each passing day.

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3871941 posted 5:38 am on Mar 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

I find the cache date of 1st week of Nov-08

That certainly sounds like a bug. If your traffic is not suffering, then when your investigation concludes there's not real problem you normally can just forget about the report.

However, it is unsettling, isn't it - especially when you see the reported problems growing.

...short titles and descriptions for pages, say www.example.com/file.html while when I click on this page the link points to www.example.com/file (without .html) and throws a 404

Now that is just plain weird. Are you seeing the 404 as an http status in the server header, not just the text of the page?

AnkitMaheshwari

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3871941 posted 6:51 am on Mar 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Regarding the content issue,
WMT will show short description for

www.example.com/file.html while this links (href) points to www.example.com/file with a status of 404 going to my custom 404 page.

Not sure whether it can hurt as the URL www.example.com/file.html is working fine but G might be treating it differently.

Regarding traffic, yes we have been hit but it is more to the global recession and our traffic dip match the industry trends.

g1smd

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3871941 posted 7:42 pm on Mar 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

It's just Google clearing old data from their database. They are going back and re-checking old data again.

I see 404 reports for pages that no longer exist, with the page the link is supposedly on, also being one that no longer exists.

These types of reports appear for a short while every few months, then drop out. It's nothing to worry about.

I have a bunch of these as of a few days back. They'll all clear up within weeks as long as the URLs still report as 404 status.

AnkitMaheshwari

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3871941 posted 3:46 am on Mar 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks for your replies.

I am hoping that the bug would be resolved in a few days considering it has already been 8-9 days since it started reporting the false issues.

AnkitMaheshwari

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3871941 posted 5:31 am on Mar 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

Update:
The Content Analysis linking issue is now corrected, however the 404 errors are still increasing, at least for now.

[edited by: AnkitMaheshwari at 5:32 am (utc) on Mar. 19, 2009]

innocbystr

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3871941 posted 6:38 am on Mar 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

I've finally learned not to panic over errors reported in GMT, except of course for the dreaded highlighted "WARNING". Generally anything similar to your problem will sort itself out and go away in a few weeks.

g1smd

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3871941 posted 8:15 am on Mar 19, 2009 (gmt 0)


It is not a bug. Google has a big database listing URLs they have discovered. That database is many times bigger than their public index. They revisit all of the URLs in the big list from time to time to see what their status is - revisiting pages that have gone 404 for several years after that happens. They do this because it is always possible that a new page might reappear at that old URL.

When they do this, the results of the recent check appear in WMT for a few days and then drop out. I have seen this several times before and it has never been an issue.

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