ᐊ What is a 404 error | Page not found | Error 404 Not Found
What is a 404 error?
You click on a link and instead of the page of the site you want to visit appearing, the browser automatically redirects you to a 404 error message, for example: “The page you wanted was not found” and the message content changes from one site to another, but in the end the meaning is the same.
You must have encountered this situation many times since it is a 404 error, which is one of the most common site-wide errors that can happen to us while browsing the Internet.
If you own a website, you should know these facts:
- The 404 error code is one of the most annoying things that visitors can encounter on your site.
- Aside from the negative user experience, high bounce rates due to broken links can negatively affect your SEO and your site’s ranking in search engines.
- If a user clicks on your page and leaves within a few seconds, Google will think that your result does not match the user’s intent. As a result, your page will rank lower in search results.
- For visitors who try to visit a page that does not exist they lose credibility and trust, which is especially negative in online stores because it means losing potential sales.
This situation is a particularly negative user experience and gets punished by Google, so it can have a very negative impact on page ranking.
In the following lines we will see why the problem occurs and how to avoid it in detail.
Why am I getting a 404 error page?
Error 404 is a status code that is sent from the web server to the browser, that is, to the user who was trying to enter this page. Basically, this error indicates that it is a broken link or it no longer exists, and therefore, its content cannot be shown to you.
To understand more, follow the following discussion as a representation of what is really happening within the system:
By clicking on a specific page link on the Seo Stars website, this means that you are requesting to view the page. Then the server responds to your request by returning the page content to you. This communication system is known as HTTP. It is done as follows:
You: I want to see the “Most Popular SEO Terms” page.
Server Seo Stars: Well, I see. It will appear immediately
This is what happens normally, but if there is an error, the following will happen:
You: I want to see the “Most Popular SEO Terms” page.
Seo Stars Server: I’m sorry, I don’t know what the landing page is.
Often sites do not check their links regularly, which leads to users trying to access a broken link. That’s why webmasters need to do regular maintenance of their sites.
Very Creative 404 Pages Examples
The most popular social network uses a custom 404 error page. Although it is very simple, it is not without a sense of humor.
It’s no surprise that one of the most popular brands has created a creative 404 error page.
> World Association of Zoos
The World Association of Zoos has a 404 error page I’ve never seen such before. Indicates the user is lost and interactive images show some birds completely disoriented. To return to the home page.
How to detect and track non-existent links?
Without a doubt, after getting rid of 404 errors it will have a positive effect on your ranking.
There are several free tools to detect these links that may appear as a 404 error:
The best free tools you can use:
Google Search Console (formerly “Webmaster Tools”): With this tool, the HTTP 404 error pages identified by Google’s crawler are automatically displayed, and once they are fixed, they can be flagged as corrected so that Google can crawl the links again ASAP and make sure the page is fixed.
Broken Link Check: A completely free tool that checks site links for non-existent links, unlimited number of pages can be analyzed It is useful for SEO as it checks internal and external URL links. It is one of the best tools I have personally used.
Internet Marketing Ninjas: A free tool that scans for broken links, checks for redirects; It schedules internal errors from all pages that display HTTP code errors. It is one of the best tools I have personally used.
Dead Link Checker: This website is fast and simple and works similarly to the previous one and is therefore very practical for detecting external or internal pages that have a 404 error.
Can 404 errors harm your site and its reputation?
When a visitor tries to access a page in search of some information and chooses your site and finds a 404 error? What will he do at that moment? It is possible that he will close the page and continue searching for another site. This is how the majority of users behave on the Internet.
The more 404 pages your site has, the less time visitors spend on the site.
Google’s algorithms pay special attention to how users behave on your site. Their online behavior has a major role in the search results ranking process. The HTTP 404 code is one of the most annoying things that your visitors can encounter. Once they see that the content they are trying to access is not available, they will leave your site and go to your competitor’s site.
Aside from the negative user experience, high bounce rates due to non-existent links can negatively affect your site’s SEO process. According to a statistic on SEMrush, bounce rate is the fourth most important ranking factor in SERPs.
If a user enters your page and quickly leaves without clicking on any other page, this indicates to Google that your result does not match the user’s intent. As a result, your page’s result will be regressed in search results.
How to fix 404 error?
Chances are high that your site contains 404 errors. Before you worry, let me tell you that having some non-existent links is normal. Most of the sites have a 404 Page Not Found error sooner or later. However, what you should do is keep track of them and fix them. Fixing bugs as quickly as possible is critical to avoiding access by users and search spiders.
Now, the most important part: How do you fix 404 links? Here’s what you can do:
Redirect the page
The simplest and easiest way to fix a 404 error is to redirect the page to another page. You can perform this task using a 301 redirect. You may be wondering what does 301 mean? It’s a redirect icon that indicates that the content has been moved to another URL permanently.
If you are using the WordPress platform, you can easily do the 301 conversion process through many plugins and the best plugin that you can use you will find in the redirect article. And if your site is special programming or even WordPress, you can do the redirect through the .htaccess file.
It’s basically inevitable: 404 errors will inevitably appear on your site. To avoid SEO issues, be sure to proactively monitor your site’s performance. Checking for HTTP 404 is as vital as posting unique, high-quality content.
Check your site’s 404 links at least once a month and if your site is larger, every week. Taking the time to update your site and run technical tests will help you stay ahead of the competition and keep these users interested in you.