What is a 404 page?
A 404 page, often known as an error page, is what visitors see when they try to access a page that does not exist on our website. It’s the page that servers display when it can’t locate the URL that the user has requested.
This usually happens when the URL or its content has been removed or relocated. However, 404 errors might occur for a variety of reasons. They may arise, for example, if the URL was mistyped in the browser or if there were mistakes in establishing the page’s URL. Furthermore, server problems or the absence of the domain name, such as when a website is completely erased from the Internet, might result in 404 errors.
When to use the 404 page?
When users come across a broken or non-existent URL on your site, you utilize a 404 page. It’s like a way of saying, “Oops! Sorry, but the page you’re searching for isn’t available.” A well-designed 404 page, rather than displaying an intimidating error message, can be a welcoming and instructive guide for your visitors.
Adding a custom 404 page to your website may be a fun way to add individuality. To assist people in finding what they were seeking in the first place, add an amusing message, relevant connections to other areas of your site, or a search box.
Do 404-page errors hurt my SEO ranking?
Yes, 404-page problems may affect your SEO ranking. A few 404 errors aren’t the end of the world. It’s usual for websites to have broken links or pages that are no longer active. The important thing is how you manage these errors.
You may transform a bad experience into a good one by personalizing and making your 404 page user-friendly. Include a useful note, some links to popular pages on your site, or a search bar so that users can return to relevant material.
How to find 404 pages on a website?
Here’s how to locate 404 pages:
1. Manual Inspection:
Begin by browsing your website and looking for broken links. You’ve reached a 404 page if you get a “Page Not Found” or “404 Error” notice.
2. Google Search Console:
If you have your website registered with Google Search Console, it might give vital information concerning crawl issues, such as 404 pages. Log in to your Search Console account and look for URLs that return 404 errors in the “Coverage” or “Crawl Errors” sections.
3. Website Audit Tools:
Several online tools are available to assist you in conducting a thorough website audit. These programs can crawl your website, detect broken links, and list 404 pages. Screaming Frog, SEMrush, and Ahrefs are other popular options.
4. Server Logs:
Accessing your server logs might offer information about the requests that result in 404 errors. You may check the logs and discover the problematic URLs using tools such as AWStats or Google Analytics (assuming your server logs are linked).
Once you’ve compiled a list of 404 pages, you have a few alternatives for dealing with them:
- Set up a 301 redirect to the new site if the page was relocated or renamed to help visitors and search engines find it.
- If the page is no longer relevant or essential, consider developing a custom 404 page to assist visitors in returning to the main site or finding the information they need.
- Repair any broken internal links and update any external links that go to non-existent pages.
- Monitoring and correcting 404 problems regularly will not only improve user experience but will also improve your website’s search engine results.