June 07, 2015

How to Deal with the 404 Error for Search Engine Optimization

Have you ever seen a 404 page error on any site or your own site or blog? You need not to worry too much when you see this error. “Error 404 – Page Not Found” is a most common web error you see during surfing Internet. It is sure that error pages give negative impact on user experience but do you know that they also impact search engines?

How to Deal with the 404 Error for Search Engine Optimization : eAskme
How to Deal with the 404 Error for Search Engine Optimization : eAskme
Other people are reading : Facebook Now Supports GIFs

You may have following question:
  • Are 404 pages bad for Search engine optimization? 
  • Do search engines penalize blogs and websites with a big number of 404 Error code pages?
Don`t worry today I will share about 404 error pages and critically examine how they impact search engines and user experience. I also highly recommend some best practices to improve 404 error pages on your blog or website.

Also See : Rebrands Webmaster Tools as Google Search Console

Start With Most Common Reasons for 404 error pages:

Tere are multiple reasons that cause 404 errors on your site or blog. The most common reasons of 404 error pages are as follows:
  •     If you change your permalink your website or blog.
  •     If you remove content from your blog or website.
  •     If someone enter misspelled link to visit your site.
Usually when search engine bots or any user access a bad or removed page on server then server shows error code of 404. This code shows that requested web page does not exist. Search engines usually do not care about 404 error pages.  But these pages have give bad impression to user who visit your site or blog.

Also See : Anatomy of an Optimized Web Page

This 404 error is the reason that cause your site to miss out important links. But you need not to worry much about this, but this will make people go away if they visit your bad page from any referral link.

How to find 404 error links and fix them:

Now let`s see what to do with 404 error pages and how to fix them.

The very first thing you need to do is to identify 404 pages on your website or blog. The best place to find 404 error pages is Google Webmaster tools.
  • How to find 404 error pages with Google Webmaster tools:
  • Login to Webmaster tool dashboard
  • Crawl errors
  • Not found
  • Click on the links
  • You will see “linked from” to check where these pages are linked from.
  • This is a handy tool to find potential link juice on your blog or website.

If you are on WordPress, then you can easily use a redirection plugin to redirect and monitor 404 error pages from Wordpress dashboard. Collect list of all 404 pages and below are the all possible solutions to fix 404 error page:
  •     301 Redirect link to the relevant post/article.
  •     To fix misspelled link from another site ask webmaster to update their links.
  •     If you are not able to find any relevant link then simply let it be.
  •     Manually de-index.
  •     Use a custom 404 page to add value to your page.
If you have hundreds of 404 error pages then best is to block bots from accessing those pages or redirect them to best articles.

    What is Google crawling and indexing

404 error pages are not your enemies. But it is not good to have long list of 404 pages on your blog. You should remember that 404 pages are responsible for poor user-experience.  A best site or blog is that which offer best user experience so you should fix 404 error pages.

Also See : Optimize WordPress Robots.txt File For Search engine Bots

Do share how you handle 404 error pages?  If you have any question or suggestion, feel free to ask me.