A 404 error is an HTTP status code that indicates that the requested resource, such as a web page or file, could not be found on the server. When a user tries to access a page that does not exist or has been deleted, the server returns a 404 error response.
The 404 error message is typically displayed on the user's browser and can be customized by the website owner to provide more information about the error or suggest alternative pages that the user can visit. Some common causes of 404 errors include typing the wrong URL, broken links, and deleted or moved pages.
Website owners should monitor their sites for 404 errors and fix them as soon as possible to improve the user experience and avoid negative impacts on search engine rankings.
Soft 404 errors are a type of HTTP status code that indicates that a page was not found, but the server did not return a proper 404 error response. Instead, it returned a response that appears to be a valid page, such as a page with a generic error message or a page with no content.
Soft 404 errors are typically caused by web applications or content management systems that fail to return a proper 404 error response when a page is not found. This can lead to confusion for users and search engines, as they may assume that the page is still available when it is not.
Search engines may also treat soft 404 errors differently than regular 404 errors. Soft 404 errors may be treated as duplicate content, which can negatively impact search engine rankings.
To prevent soft 404 errors, it's important to ensure that your web application or content management system returns a proper 404 error response when a page is not found. This can be done by customizing the 404 error page to provide helpful information and links to alternative pages on your website, and ensuring that any broken links or deleted pages are properly redirected using 301 redirects.
Here are some steps you can take to fix 404 errors on your website:
Check the URL: Ensure that the URL is correct and matches the intended page. Typos, extra spaces, or special characters can cause 404 errors.
Check the server: Make sure the server hosting your website is up and running. If the server is down, your website will not be accessible, and visitors will see a 404 error.
Check the link: If the 404 error is caused by a broken link, you can fix it by updating the link or removing it. Broken links can be identified using a link checker tool or by monitoring your website's analytics for 404 errors.
Create a custom 404 page: Create a custom 404 page that provides helpful information to users and suggests alternative pages they can visit. This can help keep users on your website and reduce bounce rates.
Redirect the page: If a page has been permanently moved or deleted, you can redirect the URL to a new page using a 301 redirect. This will notify search engines that the page has permanently moved and transfer any link juice to the new page.
Update sitemap: Updating the sitemap can be helpful as it provides the location of all pages on a website to search engines.
By following these steps, you can fix 404 errors and ensure a better user experience for your website visitors.
Yes, 404 errors can affect SEO and search rankings. When search engine crawlers encounter a 404 error while indexing a page, they may assume that the page is no longer available and remove it from their index. This can negatively impact the search visibility of your website.
In addition, if you have broken links on your website that result in 404 errors, this can affect the user experience and increase the bounce rate, which can also negatively impact your search rankings.
However, if you handle 404 errors correctly, they can have minimal impact on SEO. For example, creating a custom 404 page that provides helpful information and links to other pages on your website can help retain visitors and reduce bounce rates.
It's important to monitor your website for 404 errors regularly and fix them as soon as possible to minimize their impact on SEO and search rankings.
There are several tools you can use to identify 404 errors on your website. Here are a few examples:
Google Search Console: This is a free tool provided by Google that allows you to monitor your website's performance in search results. It also provides a list of crawl errors, including 404 errors, that you can review and fix.
Broken Link Checker: This is a free WordPress plugin that scans your website for broken links and provides a report of all broken links, including 404 errors.
Screaming Frog: This is a desktop software that crawls your website and provides a comprehensive report of all URLs on your website, including any 404 errors.
Ahrefs: This is a paid SEO tool that provides a detailed analysis of your website's backlink profile, keyword rankings, and other important SEO metrics. It also includes a broken link checker that can identify 404 errors.
Dead Link Checker: This is a free online tool that checks your website for broken links, including 404 errors, and provides a report of all broken links.
By using these tools, you can quickly identify and fix 404 errors on your website to improve the user experience and search rankings.
Here are the steps to find 404 errors using Google Search Console:
Sign in to your Google Search Console account.
Click on your website property to view the dashboard.
From the left-hand menu, click on "Coverage" under the "Index" section.
On the Coverage page, you can see the status of all URLs on your website. Look for the "Error" category and click on it to expand.
You should now see a list of errors, including any 404 errors. Click on the "Not found" tab to view all 404 errors on your website.
Click on each URL to view more details about the error, including the date it was last crawled, the referring page, and the reason for the error.
To fix the error, you can click on the "Valid" button to mark the error as fixed or click on "Test" to check if the error has been fixed.
By using Google Search Console to find 404 errors, you can quickly identify and fix any issues that may be affecting your website's search rankings and user experience.
Here are the steps to track 404 errors using Ahrefs:
By tracking 404 errors using Ahrefs, you can quickly identify and fix any issues that may be affecting your website's search rankings and user experience.
Here are some ways to resolve 404 errors:
Update the link: If the 404 error is caused by a broken link, update the link to point to the correct URL.
Redirect the URL: If a page has been permanently moved or deleted, you can redirect the URL to a new page using a 301 redirect. This will notify search engines that the page has permanently moved and transfer any link juice to the new page.
Create a custom 404 page: Create a custom 404 page that provides helpful information to users and suggests alternative pages that they can visit. This can help keep users on your website and reduce bounce rates.
Check server logs: Check server logs to identify any issues with the server or web application that may be causing the 404 errors.
Fix internal links: Check your website for internal links that may be causing 404 errors and update them with the correct URLs.
Monitor your website: Monitor your website regularly for 404 errors using tools such as Google Search Console or a broken link checker.
Custom 404 pages are web pages that are designed to appear when a user tries to access a page on a website that does not exist or has been deleted. Instead of displaying a generic error message, custom 404 pages provide helpful information to users and suggest alternative pages that they can visit.
Custom 404 pages can provide several benefits for website owners and visitors, including:
Improved user experience: A custom 404 page can help retain visitors who may have otherwise left the website after encountering a 404 error. It can provide helpful information and links to alternative pages on the website, reducing frustration and improving the overall user experience.
Reduced bounce rates: Bounce rates refer to the percentage of visitors who leave a website after viewing only one page. By providing a custom 404 page that suggests alternative pages to visit, you can reduce bounce rates and keep visitors on your website for longer.
Increased engagement: A custom 404 page can provide an opportunity to engage with visitors by providing links to popular or related pages, social media accounts, or a search bar to help them find what they are looking for.
Improved search engine rankings: By providing a custom 404 page with helpful information and links to alternative pages on your website, you can improve the user experience and reduce bounce rates. This can result in increased time spent on your website and improve search engine rankings.
Branding and marketing opportunities: A custom 404 page can also provide branding and marketing opportunities by incorporating your website's logo, design, and messaging. This can help reinforce your brand identity and promote your products or services to visitors.
By creating a custom 404 page, you can improve the user experience, reduce bounce rates, and potentially improve your search engine rankings, all while promoting your brand and engaging with visitors.
Here are the steps to create a custom 404 page in WordPress:
By following these steps, you can create a custom 404 page in WordPress that provides helpful information and suggestions to visitors who encounter a 404 error on your website.
Here are the steps to create a custom 404 page in HubSpot:
By creating a custom 404 page in HubSpot, you can improve the user experience and keep visitors on your website by providing helpful information and suggestions for alternative pages.
Fixing 404 errors is important because it improves the user experience by ensuring that visitors can access the content they are looking for on a website. When users encounter a 404 error, it can be frustrating and may cause them to leave the website. Additionally, 404 errors can negatively impact search engine rankings by causing search engines to remove pages from their index or reduce the visibility of a website in search results. By fixing 404 errors, website owners can improve the user experience, reduce bounce rates, and potentially improve search engine rankings.