404 page is one of the most annoying things your visitors might see while visiting your site. It actually shows that the URL of this page is broken or some error might be there which is causing a page to appear as ‘404 pages.’ You all would know that the Google search engine crawls your website pages so that your website appears on Search Engine Result Pages. The more visibility your site gets on Google, the more traffic you get. But it only happens when Googlebot crawls your site pages. Now the question is – if your site has 404 pages will you allow Googlebot to crawl it?
The reality is – people don’t allow Googlebot to crawl 404 pages. It is because these pages don’t bring any value to the site or produce anything. Many webmasters even block Googlebot from crawling 404 server pages. In the recent post, Google recommends not to do that.
Do you want to know what Google suggests for your 404 pages? If yes, let’s read.
Google recommends not to block Googlebot from crawling 404 server
Last week Google released a post talking about Googlebot and 404 server it is when a webmaster wrote a statement on Twitter about 404 server. Let’s read the statement of Google and webmaster.
A webmaster on Twitter wrote, “My website automatically blocks user agents that get more than ten 404 errors, including Googlebot, so that’s a problem.” In his response, John Muller of Google said it is really a bad idea. He said, “That sounds like a really bad idea which will cause all sorts of problems. You can’t avoid that Googlebot & all other search engines will run into 404s. Crawling always includes URLs that were previously seen to be 404.”
So it means if you block Google or other search engines from crawling pages that return a 404 server status code would be a bad idea for your website.
What else John Mullar says for 404 sever?
Whatever John said for your site’s 404 pages is not enough and in a different tweet, the same day he said, “Billions of 404 pages are crawled every day – it’s a normal part of the web, it’s the proper way to signal that a URL doesn’t exist. That’s not something you need to, or can suppress.”
Furthermore, he says that you can fix your 404 pages through other means, automatically blocking Google from accessing 404 pages without knowing how Google is accessing those pages can be a really bad idea.
So before you block Googlebot and restraint it from crawling 404 pages, just pay attention to what Muller has recommended to you.
Let’s talk about the working process of Googlebot.
How does Googlebot works?
You all know that Googlebot is a web spider or a crawler that crawls web pages via link. It finds and reads new content and suggests what to add to the index (Google’s brain). Googlebot uses sitemaps and database of links discovered during previous crawls to determine where to go next. So whenever the crawler finds new links on a site, it adds them to the list of pages to visit next. In case, Googlebot finds any change in the link or broken link, it will make a note of that so the index can be updated. This program helps you find how often it will crawl your site pages. How do you check whether the Googlebot is rightly crawling your pages or not? Through crawlability, you can check Googlebot. You also need to make sure that your site is available to crawlers.
Should you optimize site for Googlebot?
Yes, you should definitely optimize your site for Googlebot to crawl your site faster. However, it is a technical process that you have to make yourself familiar with. Sometimes, Google can’t crawl your site perfectly well which becomes an obstacle to rank your site on Google’s SERP. You have to find errors and fix them.
Like SEO is for website’s optimization, Googlebot also needs optimization process to crawl your site and rank it on Google’s SERP.
Every website has 404 servers that doesn’t help the webmaster to rank their site on Google. And Googlebot is one such robot that visits your site to rank your pages. So if you block Googlebot from accessing a site can directly affect Googlebot’s ability to crawl and index the site’s content. This is the reason that Google suggests not to block Googlebot from crawling 404 servers. You can also wait until Google releases any other statement about Googlebot.
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