“404” is the status code that is returned to a web browser when a page cannot be found, often referred to as a “Not Found” error. This is bad not only from an end user standpoint (it makes it look like the website is broken or does not exist), it is also bad from a search engine optimization standpoint. When a search engine robot encounters a page that returns a 404 error page, the search engine could penalize the website, which would hurt the website’s rank. Also, if the site that is linking to that missing page provides high SEO value, you are missing out on the opportunity to take advantage of that SEO value.
So, how do we deal with 404 errors?
1) Use a tool such as Google Webmaster Tools to identify 404 errors (Bing andYahoo offer similar tools). It will tell you the URL that was identified as not being found, and where that page is linked from.
2) Correct the 404 error in 2 ways:
- Implement a 301 redirect to another page
- Create a custom 404 error page (for example, make it a page that displays a sitemap)
For more help on dealing with 404 errors and other search engine optimization issues, as well as other internet marketing strategies, contact Endai using the form on the right.