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September 22, 2020
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A 404 error is an HTTP error status code indicating that a web page you’re trying to reach can’t be found by the server. In simpler terms, it means the page requested doesn’t exist or there’s something wrong with it.
Typically, websites display a custom 404 error message instead of the default template to improve user experience.
A custom 404 message can also redirect the visitors to another page by providing a link they can click on the page.
There are different name variations of 404 errors you might see when you encounter this error, such as:
There are many possible causes behind the 404 error messages. Here are some of the most common ones:
Another variation of the 404 error is the soft 404 that you might come across when you’re analyzing your website through web analytics software. Despite the name, this error is different from the usual 404 error and can be considered to be more harmful to your site.
It happens when there’s an empty page on your website and your server sends successful request codes for the page but Google returns a 404 status code due to the lack of content.
To put it simply, this type of 404 refers to pages that don’t and shouldn’t exist but are still listed on your website. This might affect your website’s SEO greatly if crawled and indexed by search engines.
As there are many possible causes of a 404 error, and the methods of fixing one vary. Here are some of the most common fixes for the error:
If you’re a website owner and one of your web pages is returning a 404 error code, here are some solutions you can try:
Broken links are one of the most common causes of 404 errors. However, it’s almost impossible to check every single page of your website for a broken link.
Luckily, you can check if your website has broken links through tools you can easily find on the internet. Probably the easiest way is to use Google’s Search Console.
These tools scan your website for any broken link and show you exactly where the problem lies. If your website is already verified with the Google Search Console, you can find your broken links under the Crawls error section.
For a simpler method, the dead link checker allows you to check broken links on a site simply by putting the site’s URL in its search bar. You can either choose to scan the whole website or a single URL page.
There are many benefits to having a customized 404 page on your website. It gives a personal touch to the message and you can use it to direct your visitors to another page of your website.
This avoids lost traffic, reduces bounce rate, and provides a more positive user experience.
Most website builders, including Zyro, come with a unique 404 error message prepared for your visitors that redirects them to your homepage. In some cases, this error message can also be customized.
In short, yes. If your website has 404 errors that are not resolved, search engines will penalize you through your SEO ranking.
The benefits of having a 404 page include a reduced bounce rate on your website, as well as a better user experience, since it’s easy to redirect visitors.
In addition, since a page that results in a 404 error technically doesn’t exist, it’s not crawled or indexed by search engines.
Having too many broken links on your pages ruins user experience, increases bounce rate, and hinders the crawling process of search engines.