What You Can Learn from Dick’s Sporting Goods (i.e. How to Monitor for 404s)

Today’s internet lesson brought to you by a retail anecdote from Dick’s Sporting Goods: yesterday I purchased a new lacrosse stick with the lowest of expectations for my retail experience. Instead I was delighted to meet Tucker, a retail associate who blew me away with his knowledge, service and genuine enthusiasm in helping my 8-year-old, first time lacrosse player. Upon checkout (which Tucker walked us through) our receipt included a link to leave feedback on our in-store experience – Tucker, knowing we were grateful and delighted customers wrote down his name and asked for a submission. (Turns out Tucker knows more about generating solid reviews than most lawyers…)

This is when it went sideways for Dick’s.

The Dicks.com/feedback URL redirects to a misspelled URL: dickssportinggoods.com/fedback (not feedback) and 404s….

A simple typo that’s soured my great experience.

Had Dick’s been monitoring their 404’s in Google Search Console, they would have been alerted to a spike in people getting an error page, been able to investigate it, and simply correct the misspelling. (I did send them a message over Twitter, which included a short, albeit predictable detour of searching Twitter for “dicks”, but I digress.)

How to Look for 404’s On Your Site Using Search Console

You can find error pages on your site in Google’s Search Console, under “Coverage” and “Excluded” you’ll find a list of different types of pages that are excluded from Google’s index. In my extreme case example below (disclaimer, not our client) just 8% of the pages on their site are actually indexed. (This is just yet another reason for you to have admin level access to Search Console – if your agency hasn’t set you up with that or (especially) if they refuse to give you access…start looking for a new agency.) Below that report, look for links to both soft and hard 404 errors.

Hone in on the “Not found (404) errors” to find broken pages on the site. In our example here, the site has fixed many of these errors over the past 3 months. Even better you can find that actual broken URL’s which are listed below the graph – making it super easy to fix.

And Dick’s – if your social media people end up reading this…fix that redirect and then make sure you give Tucker in your Issaquah store a raise…he could be working at Nordstrom. 🙂

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