Many websites provide certain products or services that are only available for a limited amount of time.
And when that product or service expires, its landing page can generate a 404 error page.
The more 404 error pages that your site generates—and that are ultimately indexed by search engines—the lower the quality score and ultimately rankings your site receives. It follows then that you should reduce the number of indexed 404 pages to improve your quality score.
Here, we discuss how you can reduce the number of 404 pages indexed on your site using Baidu and 360 Search’s broken links submission tools.
Baidu and 360 Search: Using the broken links submission tool
Both Baidu and 360 Search provide a broken links submission tool. You can use this tool to submit your 404 pages, which prevents them from getting indexed.
There are 2 options for using Baidu’s broken links submission tool:
- Submit with a file: Essentially, you’ll create a file listing all your 404-page URLs and submit it to Baidu.
- Submit with a setting rule: If all the webpages under a particular category become 404 pages, then you can submit the pages as a batch.
360 Search provides only 1 option to submit the 404 pages: Submit with a file.
For both Baidu and 360 Search, you can follow the 5 steps below to submit your 404 pages with a file:
- Create a file that lists all the URLs of all your 404 pages. It should be in .txt or .xml format, no larger than 10MB, and with no more than 50,000 URLs. If you have more than 50,000 404 pages, or the file is larger than 10MB, please divide it into 2 or more files.
- Upload the file to your website. Make sure the file can be accessed via a browser, e.g., site.com/404page.txt.
- Log in to your Baidu Webmaster Tools or 360 Search Webmaster Tools.
- Access the Baidu broken links submission tool and/or the 360 Search broken links submission tool.
- Enter the URL(s) of the file(s) that lists all your 404 pages and click “提交” (submit).
Baidu Broken Links Submission Tool
360 Search Broken Links Submission Tool
On Baidu, to submit 404 pages with a setting rule, follow steps 3 and 4 above. And then:
1) Click “规则提交” to select “submit with a setting rule.”
2) Enter the category name and click the blue button to submit.
Note: You can only submit once/month using the “submit with a setting rule” selection.
Baidu states that it will start to process the 404 pages 3 days after your submission. 360 Search does not provide any such timeline.
Once you’ve submitted your broken links, search engines will get working to remove your 404 pages from their databases, which improves your site quality and rankings, driving more traffic and ultimately clicks and conversions.