404 is an error message given when a user or web browser, attempts to visit a page but could not return any content.
There are a few different reasons why a 404 may appear on a page. These include:
The answer is no, not all bad. After all, it can inform the end user that a page no longer exists, which is just a part of having an evolving website.
A 404 is useful if you have deleted a page and the content isn’t available anywhere else. Additionally if a product on your e-commerce site is no longer on offer, a 404 error works fine.
Obviously a 404 page will not be indexed because the content on its page no longer exists.
However, a ton of 404 error pages on your website isn’t great, and will provide a poor UX (User Experience) because end users will get frustrated that they can’t find the information they are seeking.
It can also be a tough situation when you find your website has incoming 404s, because whilst it is not your fault, you are losing potential traffic.
There a few tactics you can employ to ensure you are adhering to 404 best practices.
If a website has incorrectly written the URL linking to your website, you can get in touch with the webmaster and ask them to correct the mistake. It will be beneficial to both of you.
If a 404 has occurred due to a misspelling in your URL, then all you need to do is 301 redirect to the new correctly spelt URL without losing any traffic.
If you have deleted a web page, but the content is still accessible in another location on your website, then use a 301 redirect.
Customise your 404 page to provide useful information that will guide the end user to the right place. Add a search box so visitors can continue browsing your website.
Got lots of 404 pages that you think should be a redirect or something else? We can get you paired with a team who will know what’s best and help you implement it all.
Meanwhile, check out our training courses for the best and latest SEO practises that you could be using in your plan of action today!