404 errors are often connoted as negative for user experience and SEO. Yet, they are an integral part of the lifecycle of a website. In this Bermuda Email List article, let’s see in which situations 404 errors can occur in order to define how these untraceable pages impact SEO. Summary What is a 404 error? Are 404 errors bad for SEO? Broken internal links Soft 404 404s without a custom error page Old or obsolete pages Wrong or incorrectly typed URLs What is a 404 error? In computer language, when we talk about 404, it means “not found”. In other words, when you click on a link or type a URL in the bar of your browser, the latter will ask the server if it can display this web page,

to which the server responds that this page cannot be found or n ‘does not exist (or no longer). This response from the server to indicate that the page could not be found is done by returning the code 404. Are 404 errors bad for SEO? Error pages are a common nuisance on the internet and their impact on SEO depends on the situation and why they are occurring. Below, we’ve outlined some of the situations, from the most critical to the least critical, in which 404 errors occur. Broken internal links These cases occur either because a page no longer exists or because the page was incorrectly linked. Not only do broken links provide a bad user experience, they compromise the integrity of a website and prevent Google from crawling and crawling its pages.

How do you find your outdated links?

How to find broken internal links? Regularly crawl your site using a crawler like Screaming Frog . You can export a list of 404 pages from the “Response Codes” tab or use the “All Inlinks” export to identify 404 pages and their source. Soft 404 A soft 404 occurs when a page that does not exist returns a status code of 200. It’s like ordering a dish from a restaurant menu and being brought an empty plate instead of telling you that there was no longer this dish. Soft 404s are problematic because search engines keep crawling and indexing pages that do not exist when it would be better to allocate those resources to crawling pages that do exist.


How to identify soft 404 pages? You can find a list of URLs that Google suspects to be Soft 404 pages in Search Console under Cover> Error. You can also crawl in Screaming Frog, filter the pages that return a 200 status code, and then sort them in ascending order of word count. 404s without a custom error page Error pages create a bad experience for the user , but you can alleviate a user’s frustration and recover potentially lost traffic by creating a custom 404 page. An effective personalized 404 page will encourage users to explore your site further and help them find what they are looking for. At a minimum, an error page should contain links to other resources on your site, a brand image, a clearly stated error message, and an apology for the error.

Wrong or incorrectly typed URLs

A simplified version of the navigation to help users navigate the site. A site search box to encourage users to continue their visit to the site or to discover new content that they would not have initially sought. Depending on the site or the situation, it may be a good idea to include contact details such as a phone number, email, social network, or chatbot. Old or obsolete pages Sometimes pages are old or become obsolete and are deleted from the site by the teams in charge of IT, marketing or merchandising. This is normal and part of the website lifecycle. Dealing with 404 errors is a balancing act. On the one hand, too many 404 errors can be a sign of a quality problem with your site. On the other hand, it is impractical and difficult to try to deal with every occurrence of 404 page.

If the 404 page has obtained quality backlinks or receives a high volume of traffic, the page should be redirected to the page that is most relevant or best serves the user’s intention . If the page is not receiving any traffic or links, it is a good idea to leave it in 404. However, whether you decide to use a 301 redirect or leave the page in 404, make sure those URLs are removed. of the XML Sitemap . How do you find your outdated links? First, take a look at your website’s Analytics to see which 404 pages are receiving traffic from referring sites. In Google Analytics, you can do this by applying a filter for page titles that contain “page not found” (or any other text used in your error page title tag ).

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