You may have looked at your Google Webmaster Tools property to see that there are a few crawl errors being displayed for your site, in this guide we will explain how you can quickly and easily fix these errors. Most crawl errors are due to old posts being removed or a change to the permalinks within WordPress.
We will cover the basics on how to fix 404 errors, you may need to get in touch if you are experiencing server errors.
Typically you would need to add a rule to your htaccess file to fix these errors by redirecting the URL that returns an error to a functioning page, however, you can easily fix these errors within the WordPress dashboard using a free plugin called Redirection. First, you will need to find the errors, in Google Webmasters open your site and then go to Crawl Errors. If you have just a few errors you can copy and paste the URLs as they appear.
Once you have copied the URL go to your WordPress site and install the Redirection Plugin, once active you can go to Tools > Redirection within the WP admin. In our sample below we will enter the Source URL from Google Webmasters and then redirect to the homepage. You can use relative paths here rather than entering the full URL as long as you are redirecting to a page within your site. For example using a target URL of / will redirect to your site homepage.
Once you have added the redirect you can go back to Google Webmasters and then mark the error as fixed.
How to bulk redirect 404 errors in WordPress?
If your site has a lot of errors in the search console then you will find it much quicker to simply download all the errors and then import them into the WordPress Redirection plugin.
In webmasters tools select all the 404 errors and click ‘Download’.
Once you have downloaded the errors you can open the csv file in Excel and format the columns to just two, one for the original source URL and the second for the redirect destination. See our sample below:
Now you can save your csv file and get ready to import into WordPress, go back to Tools > Redirection and then select the ‘Options’ tab, scroll down to the ‘Import’ section and then select your csv file. Click ‘Upload’ and your redirects will automatically be added to your WordPress site. You can go back to webmasters tools, select all the 404 errors that you exported and then mark all as fixed.
Google usually takes a day to register your fixed URLs, this method works well for 404 errors but may not work for some server errors or .php URLs. You can also check within the Redirection plugin to see stats of your redirects. Remember, when creating new web pages that replace old, you need to setup a redirect.
Article by Adam Haworth
Also available at adamhaworth.com/how-to-fix-google-webmasters-404-crawl-errors-within-wordpress