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Webmaster Tools Crawl Errors - URLs from invalid external links

     
4:38 pm on Mar 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Hi

I think this is the right forum for this post.
I have a site that I regularly check in Webmaster Tools for crawl errors and such like.. I thought I had pretty much got them all sorted but just recently I have had 335 showing in the list. When I look at the URLs that are failing they're all invalid links, and they're being linked to from an external site - these URLs do not appear anywhere in my site.

My question is, will this adversely affect my rankings or anything else for that matter?

I want to have 0 crawl errors showing in my account but I guess that's not going to be possible. However, if there are no negative effects from the number of invalid links showing in there then I guess I can live with it.

Thanks,
Dan
7:30 pm on Mar 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

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

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In Google's own forums, their official comments have emphasized several times that this kind of crawl error is provided for your information - and you can ignore it if those links are bogus. In other words, their crawler made an error, not you.
7:55 pm on Mar 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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I have external incoming links pointing at
example.com/instruction-manua
and
example.com/product-featur
and so on.

They all correctly return a 404 response. Do not be tempted to redirect these requests.
9:49 am on Mar 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the responses. That's pretty much what I thought but just wanted some confirmation.

Out of interest, what would be the effect of redirecting these invalid URLs to actual valid pages?
12:05 pm on Mar 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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Look up the phrase "soft 404". Google hates 'em.
12:08 pm on Mar 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member

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You want broken links from external sites showing up in GWT. Depending on the caliber of the linking site you may want to contact the site owner to get it right.

Out of interest, what would be the effect of redirecting these invalid URLs to actual valid pages?

Google has never seen content at the broken url location and a redirect is saying "it was there but now it's moved", trust comes into play as does internal link structure. It's better to ask the link be fixed and you can't ask if GWT doesn't report it.
5:36 pm on Mar 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

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what would be the effect of redirecting these invalid URLs to actual valid pages?

I've seen companies try this. At best, it did nothing - a waste of time. However, at worst, the liability is saying "Yes, we want to be associated with this crazy, manipulative, low quality network of websites. We validate these links."

If the bad link comes from a good quality site and if it is getting clicks, then asking them to fix the link is the best step. For a good quality site doesn't correct their bad link, in that case (only) I might consider a redirect. But that would usually be rare. These bad badlinks usually do come from shady places ;(
 

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