Today we'll talk about improperly managed 404 errors.
A 404 error occurs when a URL is no longer accessible. This happens a lot when pages are deleted, URLs are changed, or products are removed in eCommerce sites.
If the URLs returning 404 errors are no longer linked to internally and are not receiving any traffic, then that's fine!
But if the pages returning 404 errors are inter-linked and/or receiving traffic, then that can cause issues. While 404 errors cannot damage SEO significantly, they can quickly eat away the crawl budget — especially for large eCommerce sites.
So the recommended solution is to 301 redirect the deleted page to any other relevant page on the site. This will help preserve the SEO equity and will avoid unnecessary 404 errors.
To find the 404 errors, you can start with the search console (Crawl > Crawl Errors). You can also use tools like Screaming Frog or SiteBulb to run full site audits.
You can read this and this to learn more about how to find and fix 404 errors.