It is a common question by SEOs, but the answer is typical. In fact, most 404 errors don’t directly hamper-your SEO, but they can kill your link equity, traffic and user experience over time.
What is 404 error?
404 error is a response code returned by the server and displayed by the browser when there is no matching URL on your website. It happens when the page of a URL no longer exists or it has been moved or removed. A 404 error is a client-side error. It can even occur when you typed the URL incorrectly.
How are 404 errors displayed?
Here are some common ways in which browsers show 404 errors:
- “404 Error”
- 404 Not Found”
- “Error 404”
- “HTTP 404”
- “Error 404 Not Found”
- “The requested URL [URL] was not found on this server”
- “HTTP 404 Not Found”
- “404 Page Not Found”
- “404 File or Directory Not Found”
How to Fix 404 Errors?
Here is a step-by-step guide:
Step 1: Found the error
In the first step, you should find every 404 error on your site. Checking it manually takes hours of time, instead any of these broken link checker tools can help you – error404.atomseo.com, deadlinkchecker.com, brokenlinkcheck.com.Broken link checker tools don’t just show 404 errors, so you have to be specific there.
Some broken link tools miss up to 80% of the 404 errors on your website. So, use as many as possible tools to find the maximum number of links.
Step 2: Fix the error
You have 3 methods to fix 404 errors.
Redirect the 404 error somewhere else:
For example, you have your mobile application development company’s website.If you’re getting 404 response to /mobile-apps-development URL, you can redirect it to /mobile-app-development page in case you have the same. Or you can redirect customers to your homepage like how Amazonhas done here.
Correct the source link:
If the broken link is under your control, you can inspect the link and fill it with content.
Restore deleted pages:
Sometimes you delete some pages from your website and people still try to find those pages and get a 404 error. So, you can restore those pages.
Tips to redirect faulty pages to right pages:
- Create them manually in your .htaccess or your NGINX server config: It is one of the finest ways to see the fastest result changes. But you should have the know-how of it and the access to do it.
- Create them with a redirect plugin: You can use redirect plugins to do this job. The plugin called ‘Redirection’ is one of the most used plugins for WordPress sites to solve this issue.
- Create them with Yoast SEO Premium plugin:Yoast SEO Premium plugin provides you a redirect module. You can use it to make redirects with WordPress interface. You can also save those to your .htaccess file or a NGINX include file. It helps you do the 1st option mentioned above.
It also getsyou 404 errors from Google Search Console directly in your WordPress install, so you can redirect them straight away. And it’ll bring a button to your WordPress toolbar if you’re on a 404 page:
As I told above, 404 errors don’t break your ranking, but they definitely break your customer’s experience. In case, if you want to apply your site for AdSense, make sure your site is 404 error free. Google don’t entrain broken links. 404 errors hurt all sorts of websites, including mobile app development companies’, website development companies and even e-commerce companies’.