What Are the Implications of 'Submitted URL Not Found (404)' Errors in the Coverage Report, and How Can These Be Effectively Addressed?


The 'Submitted URL not found (404)' error in the Coverage Report signifies that a URL submitted to Google Search Console cannot be found by Google's crawlers. This can negatively impact your website's SEO, user experience, and indexing. To resolve these issues, you should identify and correct broken links, maintain proper redirects, and keep your sitemap updated.

Understanding 'Submitted URL not found (404)' Errors

What Are 404 Errors?

A 404 error indicates that a webpage is not found on the server. When Google's crawlers encounter a 404 error, it means the specific URL is unreachable or doesn't exist, impacting the site's search engine visibility.

Implications of 404 Errors in the Coverage Report

SEO Impact

404 errors can significantly affect your site's SEO. Search engines strive to provide the best results, and inaccessible links can lead to a lower ranking:

  • Google may see your site as unreliable, reducing its search ranking.
  • Crawling and indexing inefficiencies slow down the discovery of valid pages.
  • General user experience degradation as visitors encounter broken links.

User Experience

From a user's perspective, hitting a 404 error page disrupts navigation and reduces trustworthiness:

  • Visitors may abandon your site, leading to higher bounce rates.
  • Loss of potential customers and reduced overall site engagement.

Crawling and Indexing Issues

Googlebot's limited crawl budget means it spends less time indexing your valid pages if it keeps encountering 404 errors. This affects the freshness and completeness of your sitemap index.

Addressing 'Submitted URL not found (404)' Errors

Use tools like Google Search Console, Screaming Frog SEO Spider, or Ahrefs to identify broken links:

Implement Redirects

Set up 301 redirects for outdated or moved content to guide users and search engines to the correct pages:

  • Use server-side HTTP 301 redirects for permanent moves.
  • If the content is no longer available, consider a 410 Gone status to indicate intentional removal.
  • Ensure redirects point to relevant content to maintain user context.

Learn more about redirects: [MDN Web Docs, 2022]

Maintain and Update Sitemaps

Regularly update XML sitemaps to reflect current site structure and submit them to Google:

  • Ensure new pages are indexed and outdated pages are removed.
  • Use tools like Yoast SEO or Google XML Sitemaps for WordPress to streamline sitemap management.
  • Resubmit updated sitemaps to Google Search Console for quicker indexing updates.

More about sitemaps: [Google Developers, 2023]

Regularly audit internal links to spot and fix broken links:

  • Use internal linking audit tools like SEMrush or Moz to spot issues.
  • Replace broken links with correct URLs or remove them if no longer relevant.

More about internal linking: [Moz, 2023]


'Submitted URL not found (404)' errors in the Coverage Report can negatively impact your site's SEO, user experience, and indexing. Regularly monitoring and addressing these errors through proper identification, redirection, sitemap maintenance, and internal link auditing can significantly improve your site's performance and search engine ranking.