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17th September 2012 |  Written by

Disqus Blog Engines Seeing Spike in Google 404s

Whilst working on a client site last week, we started to notice crawl errors via Google Webmaster Tools when we saw over 100 404s were reported:

Initially, there was confusion because the style of URL was one that the blog did not produce – all URLs are SEO friendly and keyword rich.  Whilst obviously the pages did not exist, the next issue was that the links were not, and to our knowledge never had been, on the pages that Google were reporting them to be from.  So when a link is reported on the 14th and you check on the 15th with no sign of it, knowing that no changes to the site have been made, then you know something is amiss.

As 404s shouldn’t affect a site’s performance and as we couldn’t find any sign of how the pages were being picked up, the errors were marked as fixed, only for them to come back a few days later!

After some digging around and discussion within the Google forums, it became apparent that the error is down to the way in which Google crawls the Disqus commenting engine which uses Javascript.

There is more on this issue on SEO Round Table which includes comment from Disqus who basically say it’s Google’s fault – but hopefully the two can work together to resolve the issue.

Your Comments

  1. Hi Dave,

    Thanks for sharing the update. As I have been using Disqus for a long time on my personal website. I have to have a look for myself (including on Google’s webmastertools – hopefully there is some sort of indication there), hopefully it won’t affect my website too much.

  2. I am getting the same issue.
    And CATASTROPHIC decline in Google traffic.
    Did you see decline in Google traffic?
    Why don’t you have Disqus here now?

  3. Hi Augis,

    Have not seen a decline in traffic – how many 404s are you getting?

    And have never used Disqus on this blog.

  4. Hi Anton,

    There’s not been much on Webmaster Tools relating to this. I am just going to keep marking the 404s as fixed and hope that it’s not too long before it’s fixed, it shouldn’t affect the rankings of any of the other pages on your site though.

  5. Good to see this post. Disqus created over 99k errors on our website and we’ve been experiencing the traffic drop, almost in sync with the rise of these errors. We’ve fixed all the errors by creating 301 redirects to correct URLs, however Google’s dropping them only at the rate of 1000/day.

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