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404-Errors and Redirects: Everything You Need to Know

Maybe you have encountered 404 errors while surfing the web? Usually it also says that “The page can not be displayed”, but what does that really mean?

In this article, we will go through all about 404 errors, and how redirects can help you.

What Is 404 Error?

When it says “Error 404” or “Page not found” on a site, it means that a standard HTTP status code has been created when the server can not find what has been requested. Simply explained, this means that the page does not exist or has been broken in any way.

What does a 404 error page look like?

It does not necessarily have to say 404 errors, it can be a series of different phrases:

  • 404
  • 404 error
  • 404 not found
  • Error 404
  • 404 page not found
  • Error 404 not found
  • HTTP 404 not found

What Causes 404 Errors?

The reason why 404 errors occur may be one of these four reasons:

  • The page has been deleted from the website
  • The URL was entered incorrectly
  • The page has been moved and no redirection has taken place or it has been configured incorrectly
  • The server does not work (this happens very rarely)


It would be optimal if no pages show 404 errors on the site, including external links. But if you have more than a thousand pages on your site, then the risk is high that a 404 error will appear from time to time.

Why is it negative for the website?

Several 404 errors on your site can create major problems, for several different reasons.

If we start with the user’s perspective, by ending up on pages with 404 errors several times when browsing your site, a bad user experience is created.

Only by ending up on a page with 404 errors can the user leave the site. This means that it can cost you a customer.

In addition, 404 errors can damage your SEO and your rankings. It’s not really a ranking factor, and Google will not penalize you if you have several such errors. However, the more you have, the harder it will be for search engines to index your site. Your link building can also be damaged by this, which in turn damages your rankings.

You may also experience problems with high bounce rates if users start leaving your site due to 404 errors. Unlike 404 errors, bounce rate is a ranking factor and Google can harm your site if it has too high a bounce rate.

Check for 404 errors

But how to avoid 404 errors or check that a website has none? There are actually several ways to do this.

Many CMS tools that provide tools for this. If you have built your website with WordPress, you can easily install an extension (plugin) that checks 404 errors for you and notifies you when it appears.


How To Fix 404 Errors

Here are four ways you can fix your 404 error:

  • Creating redirects: The easiest way to fix 404 errors is to redirect users to another relevant page. But make sure you redirect them to a relevant page, so you do not just send them to the home page.
  • Fix the page: If you notice that many people click on a page that you have deleted and there is no page to redirect them to, think about whether you might want to fix the page instead.
  • Correct the link: Once you have broken links on your site, then you can easily fix the links to lead users towards the correct link. However, you can not correct external links, consider whether to replace it instead.
  • Create a 404 page: By creating a 404 page, you can be sure that your visitors do not feel annoyed. Create a 404 page that has a little humor and that leads visitors right.

Summary

Are you sure your 404 error is correct? Do not forget, every time you change a URL – create a redirect (redirects). In addition, if you use WordPress, install an extension (plugin) and you will receive notifications when broken links appear, for example on external links where the recipient has changed or deleted a page.

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