Google Search Console, crawlers, and third-party tools are the different methods to detect 404 errors. But none of these methods displays which external sources are linking to your website and are thereby driving traffic. These sources are using the wrong URLs and are linking to 404 pages. For detecting these errors, you need to have access to Google Analytics.
The steps you need to take for detecting and resolving the 404 errors and regain your traffic areas listed below:
Regaining Traffic by Detecting and Resolving Relevant 404 Errors
- Visiting any 404 pages and checking its title tag: The most common title tags are ‘404’, ‘Page Not Found’ etc.
- Logging in to Google Analytics and navigating to Behavior> Site Content> All Pages: After you reach ‘All Pages’, select ‘Page Title’ as a Primary Dimension. Doing this will generate a report that displays the title tags of all the pages which the users have visited on the website
- Searching for the 404 page’s title that you found in the first step: If you discovered that the title tag of the not found page is ‘404’, then type ‘404’ in the search bar. This will display the error pages that the users ended up visiting.
- Clicking on found ‘title tag’: This enables you to examine all the URLs that return a 404 status code and identify the actual URL that is not working
- Adding a secondary dimension: This enables you to identify the source and medium of the visits and also to check for errors within your internal navigation in the website
- Resolving the errors: there are two ways to do this:
- Fixing the initial link (provided you have control over it)
- Redirecting the URL that returns 404 to the one that returns 200