What Is A 404 Error? How Does It Impact SEO? How To Fix 404 Error?

What Is A 404 Error: Everyone of us, who use the Internet, must have come across pages that say, “404 Page Not Found”. That is, the page you are looking for is not available.

So, how do you feel when you can’t find the page you are looking for? You get annoyed, right? You, then, try to find out the information from some other site.

From the user’s perspective, landing on a 404 Error page is a bad experience – something that must not happen. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the websites, to ensure great user experience, especially because, most of the times, 404 Error happens due to some or the other error from the website’s side.

In this article, I will tell you what is a 404 Error and how to fix 404 error.

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What Is A 404 Error?

A 404 Error is, basically, an HTTP status code which means the page a user is looking for is not available on the server. Servers reply with this HTTP status code when an user or even bots requests access to a page that is not there anymore.

Common 404 Error Messages

Usually, websites display 404 Errors in one of the following ways:

  • 404 Error
  • 404 Page Not Found
  • 404 Not Found
  • Error 404
  • HTTP 404 Not Found
  • HTTP 404
  • Error 404 Not Found
  • 404 File or Directory Not Found
  • The requested URL [URL] was not found on this server

What Causes 404 Errors?

There can be multiple reasons behind 404 Errors:

  1. Sometimes, redesigning the website can cause these errors,
  2. Editing or modifying the URL for a particular page long after it has been published can cause this error,
  3. Pages that are deleted will show 404 Error,
  4. Internal or external links with spelling mistakes in the URL can also cause this,
  5. Moving your website from http to https can result in 404 Error pages.

How Does 404 Error Impact User Experience?

Users will be, as mentioned above, annoyed if they land up on a 404 Error page as they will not get what they are looking for. They will go away and look for the information in some other website.

What makes things worse is an uncustomized 404 Error which leaves a poor impression of the website in the minds of the users.

How Does 404 Error Impact SEO?

Well, 404 Errors are normal and inevitable for any website and Google totally understands that. So, Google will not de-index the website.

But if there are too many 404 errors showing for a particular website, it will eventually indicate to Google that the website doesn’t care about user experience.

You will also lose out link equity from other domains if the external websites link to a 404 error page.

How To Fix 404 Errors?

There are many different methods to fix 404 Errors. You can do the following to fix 404 Errors:

  1. Set up 301 redirect to the relevant page – 301 redirect is a permanent redirect that will direct both users and crawlers to the redirected page.
  2. If it is due to misspelled URL, make the necessary changes in the linking page. If it is another website that has linked to a misspelled URL, request the webmaster to make the changes,
  3. If there are a few 404 Error pages in your website and there are no relevant articles, you can de-index them manually.
  4. If there are too many pages which gives 404 Error, simply customize the page and make it interesting,
  5. You can also use robots.txt file to stop search engines from crawling these pages.

I hope this article gives a proper explanation of what is a 404 Error. If you have any query pertaining to what is a 404 Error, drop a comment below and I will get back to you.

Icon Courtesy: Alfredo Hernandez from flaticon.com

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