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How to Find 404 Pages

You can use any number of tools to identify 404 pages, such as Screaming Frog, Link Sleuth, or Google Webmaster Tools.

One of the easiest ways is just using a browser extension like Check My Links, which accessible from the Chrome Web Store. This will help you quickly identify internal broken links.

But what about the source of the broken link in the first place?

Google Webmaster Tools is best for this and will help you not only find broken links, but the source of those broken links as well. Here’s how.

What About SEO?

Many SEO professionals and website owners will use a 301 redirect to take visitors to the site homepage rather than showing them a 404 error page. Though this is the safest option in terms of retaining the strength of your incoming links, it isn’t always best from a user’s perspective.

If you have a page on your website that receives a big number of high authority, relevant links, and you’ve decided to get rid of that page for some reason, then you probably should use the 301 to redirect the search engines and users to an alternative page (not necessarily the homepage). Assuming an alternative page exists.

These external links can be passing link juice, and in most cases they should also be corrected at the source. Meaning, reach out to the site owners and ask them to correct the linking URL or suggest a replacement page.

However, in most cases, it’s actually far more appropriate to actually show your visitors the 404 page. If you expect to be taken to a particular page on a company’s website and end up on their homepage, you will probably be a little confused and frustrated. In this situation, it’s far better to return a helpful and informative 404 page.