Error 404 – Page Not Found, you must have seen this error most commonly on the internet. We know that the error pages implies a negative user experience, but how they impact the mechanism of search engines? Is 404 error page is bad for SEO? Do the search engines penalizes the website, if it consists many 404 error pages? Let’s get the answer to all your questions.
In this post, we have elaborated the 404 error pages from both perspective users and search engines. Alongside, we have also recommended the best practices that one can adapt in order to improvise their 404 error pages. And these practices are suggested by the experts from SEO company Galway.
What are the most common reasons for 404 error pages?
There are various reasons which result in 404 errors. Some of the most common errors are mentioned as follows:
- The 404 error occurs when you change the permalink or your URL’s structure.
- You have removed the content from your website.
- Your website is linked to a misspelled link or any other incorrect link.
When a user or search engine bots asks to open a bad page on the server, the web servers usually replies with a 404 status code, signifying that page doesn’t exist on the server. Normally, the search engine bots are smart and they do not car much on 404 error. But when it comes to the real-life user, a 404 error page represents bad user experience, and on the other hand, the user goes to another link or turns back.
Fixing 404 Links for Users as well as for SEO
Now its time to figure out what you can do with 404 error pages and how you can fix them.
Your first step is to find out the existing 404 pages on your blog. Looking for the best place to start with – its none other than the Google Webmaster tool.
Login to your webmaster account > crawl errors > Not Found
And after that, you will see a list of all the links which are having 404 errors. However, if you have built your website on WordPress, you will be having an access of redirection plugin to check and redirect 404 error pages directly from your dashboard. Once you get the list of all the links comprising 404 error page, then there are several solutions depicting how to deal with them.
- You can use 301 redirect which links with the most relevant post or any other category. In case, there is no relevant article, then go to the next step.
- If the reason of the error is misspelled link from another domain, then either you can update the link through webmaster or access 301 redirections.
- In case, you don’t have any relevant post, then don’t worry. Eventually, Google automatically de-index such web pages.
- Another option is that you can de-index the pages manually from the web index by using the webmaster removal tool. SEO Services Dublin follows the same move for their error pages.
- However, if your website is having thousands of such webpages, then its better to go for the previous option.
- You can access a custom 404 error page, enclosing search box, display of relevant articles and viewing most popular posts on the website. This entire idea is to deliver better user experience.
So, tell us how do you handle the 404 pages on your blog? You prefer redirection or custom 404 error page?
Let us know in the comments section below!