More threads by Drudge


Jan 14, 2014
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Hi Everyone,

Seeking some guidance here.

A few months ago this site was hacked by one of the Xanax/Valium spammers. About 2 dozen pharmaceutical landing pages were created on the site, and tons of backlinks were sent to those pages. They've since been removed and I disavowed the spammy backlinks back in February.

However, WMT is still processing the dead urls as 404 errors. See this screenshot here.


Question - what's the best way to deal with these internal 404 errors?

My first thought was to 301-redirect these urls to various internal pages of the site. The idea is to simply get rid of the 404 errors in WMT. But by sending these dead pages with spammy url's, I fear compromising the trust of those pages.

Then again, the fact that these pages are still 'indexed' by WMT, shows that Google is still 'considering' these URL's and is certainly not helping.


Next site:

This site contains 28 404 errors, but they're not spammy. They're simply leftovers from the wordpress template in Latin (see screenshot here ).


Is it safe to simply 301 re-direct most of these to the homepage?

I've also considered 301 redirecting them externally to authority sites.



Great question and also very interesting. The latin pages are a pretty simple fix. Do your best to point them to pages as similar as possible within your site. If it's a slider - point to another slider, demo page to other demo, questionable 404s spread them around.

As far as the xanax pages, eat some xanax because I don't have an answer, but I will ask around. I would invite you to take this question to the "techical seo" community on Google +.

I would hesitate and not move on those 404s until you have a solid answer. You'll want to handle as correctly as possible, especially if you've received a penalty.
Thanks Cody!

I agree on the Xanax pages. I'd ask at that community if you can get in. But they approve people in batches and are pretty selective so it's hard to get in and can take awhile sometimes.

So I'd try the Google Webmaster forum and Webmaster World too.

In fact I'd try to get a few opinions that hopefully line up and support each other, maybe a couple places, before touching something like that.
Whoops, I forgot that was in invite community. I'll add the question to see what responses come. Good point to check the webmasters forum.
Thank you, Cody!

Linda - Great idea, I just posted in the WMT forum.

I'll keep you both posted if a helpful solution arises.

Here are my responses so far:

+Menachem Rosenbaum
Use a http 410 - deleted permanently. As fas Google is concerned 410 is stronger signal than a 404 for a deleted page.

+Jennifer M
no no no don't 301. Leave them be. Also, no need to disavow if the links point to a 404 page. A 410 basically means "I am permanently deleting this file, no need to 404 since it's not temporary. It has minor effect in the speed that the bots will remove the page. Personally, since this is not "broken" I usually hesitate to tell inexperienced people to go mess with server responses. It increases the chance of making mistakes for something that's not necessary.
Wow, thanks for going above and beyond to post the Q there and feedback the replies here Cody!

I'm sure Drudge really appreciates the extra effort!

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