It’s important to note that when you’re making this report, ensure that your report ‘Type’ is marked as ‘Flat Table’ – see the image below for reference.
In terms of the dimensions you want to include in your report, there’s three key items that I’m going to be looking at here; Page, Previous Page Path, and Page Title. Here’s a breakdown of what each of those mean:
- Page: This is the page that is returning a 404 response.
- Previous Page Path: This page shows how users reached the 404 response i.e. the path they took to arrive at the broken page.
- Page Title: We need to know the respective page titles so that we can focus on pages that are returning a 404.
You can use whatever metrics suit your needs and desires. But in this circumstance, I’m going to be looking at pageviews and unique pageviews. If you’re wanting to get deeper insights and you’re familiar with GA, then by all means, include or switch up the metrics you use – you can even just rely on one metric if you like.
- Pageviews: The number of times users have viewed the page being analysed.
- Unique Pageviews: Just as the name suggests, this is the number of times unique users view the page. i.e. the same user may view the page 50 times, but it still only counts as 1 unique pageview.
- Exclude – Previous Page Path: As the purpose of this report is to find broken internal links, I’m going to exclude users who have randomly typed a URL directly into the search engine (AKA ‘entrance’).
- Include – Page Title: We want to include all pages that returned a 404 status. Depending on your website and how you’ve set up your 404 display, ‘page not found’ could also be replaced by ‘404’ or some other equivalent message.
If you don’t know what your website’s 404 title is, the easiest way to find out is to type a random string at the end of your URL address, and load it to force a 404 error e.g. www.yourreallycoolwebsite.com.au/asjdhgh
In the example below, I took a screenshot of me forcing a 404 on the Indago Digital website with the following URL: www.indagodigital.com.au/404