We all have experienced errors like
“Sorry. 404 page not found ”
if the resource on that url has been moved. These 404s errors will go away by themself generally after a week or so, but if your domain has too many 404 Errors floating around in the search engines a few things may happen:
1.Your site’s reputation may be hurt.
2.Your site’s rankings may suffer.
3.Your site may be penalized.
4.Your site may be banned from the index.
As you see, a 404-Error page is a killer of SEO campaigns (404-Errors should not be confused with “server not found” or similar errors, in which a connection to the destination server could not be made at all).
Somtimes if a page is not removed from following the above steps then it might not be a 404 truly. To test if a page is a true 404 use this tool
Here are steps that can be followed to remove 404.
Step #1: Set Up In Google Webmaster Tools
To start the process, make sure you’re site is being tracked in Google Webmaster Tools so that it can report back any potential site quality issues (such as the 404 pages we’re hunting). You have to verfiy site ownership, which can be done in several ways after you sign in to your google webmaster tools account.
Step #2: Finding Your 404-Error Pages
Once you’ve entered your site in Google Webmaster and verified, you will be able to see a high-level overview of your site’s diagnostics via the admin panel.
From there, you will be able to see your ‘Not Found’ link details. If you click the ‘details’ link, you will see a comprehensive list of your site’s current 404-Error pages. Hint: Copy and paste all the URLs into a Word Doc for quick access.
Step #3: Removing Your 404-Error Pages
Now that you’ve found your site’s current 404-Error pages, it’s time to remove them. To do this, we need to submit them for removal from Google’s Index. To do that click ‘Tool’ and then use the ‘Remove URL’ Tool.
Click ‘New Removal Request’ and you will then be given 4 options:
1.Individual URLs: web pages, images, or other files.
2.A directory and all subdirectories on your site.
3.Your entire site Remove your site from appearing in Google search results.
4.Cached copy of a Google search result
For our purposes, select the first option. From here, you will be able to submit a URL for removal.
Copy and paste in the relative URL path of your 404-Error page and click ‘Add’. Repeat this process until all of your 404-Error pages have been added to your list of URLs to remove. Once you’ve completed you list, be sure to hit ‘Submit Removal Request’.
Hint: You can remove a maximum of 100 page per request, and requests usually take 3-5 days to process. Be sure to monitor the progress as this tool can be buggy.
Step #4: Consider Other Options
If you still have access on your server to the old URLs that may be causing 404 errors, it would be a sound strategy to put a 301-Redirect in place.
That way, whenever a user finds the page in the SERPs, they will automatically be redirected to a working page. It’s up to you which page to redirect them to. With time, the new URL will replace the old one in the SERPs.
In addition, it is also a good idea to create custom 404 pages. This will make sure a user doesn’t feel lost when he or she finds a 404-Error page.
if you are not able to remove 404 from google index, then the page may not be a true 404. To test if response is 404 or not try this tool. Also you can just put blank page in place of the one that is giving a 404 and use 301 redirect to your index page.
The google webmaster tools link for 404 removal is this .
You can also read details given by google iteself here
Thanks to Jacob’s blog.