What is 404 Issue in SEO
A 404 error is an HTTP status code that indicates that the server couldn’t find the requested resource. It’s a common issue encountered by website owners and can negatively impact their website’s search engine optimization (SEO). In this article, we’ll explore what a 404 issue in SEO is, its causes, and how to solve it.
What is a 404 issue in SEO? When a user requests a page that doesn’t exist on a website, the server returns a 404 error. This can happen due to various reasons, such as broken links, mistyped URLs, deleted pages, or renamed pages. From an SEO perspective, a 404 error can be detrimental to a website’s ranking as search engines may interpret it as a sign of poor user experience.
Search engines like Google prioritize user experience, and if they encounter too many 404 errors while crawling a website, they may lower its ranking in search results. Moreover, if a website has many broken links, it can affect users’ trust and confidence in the site, which can result in a higher bounce rate.
Causes of 404 issues: There are several reasons why a website might encounter 404 errors. Here are some of the most common causes:
- Broken links: External links pointing to a website’s pages may become broken over time. A broken link can occur when the URL structure changes, or the page is removed, or the link is misspelled.
- Deleted pages: Website owners may delete pages that are no longer needed. However, if these pages had external links pointing to them, those links will now lead to a 404 error.
- Renamed pages: Websites may rename pages for various reasons, such as rebranding or changing the URL structure. However, if external links still point to the old URL, they will no longer work, leading to a 404 error.
- Typos: Users may sometimes mistype a URL or enter an incorrect URL, leading to a 404 error.
- Server issues: In some cases, server issues may cause a website to return a 404 error. This could happen due to problems with the website’s hosting provider, DNS issues, or misconfigured web servers.
How to solve 404 errors: Fixing 404 errors is essential for maintaining a website’s SEO and user experience. Here are some ways to solve 404 errors:
- Redirect the page: If a page has been deleted or renamed, redirect it to a new page using a 301 redirect. A 301 redirect tells search engines that the page has moved permanently to a new location.
- Fix broken links: Use tools like Google Search Console or Broken Link Checker to identify broken links on your website. Once you’ve identified them, fix them by either removing the link or updating it with the correct URL.
- Create custom 404 pages: Design a custom 404 page that serves as a helpful guide for users who encounter a 404 error. The page should include a search bar, links to popular pages, and instructions on how to report the issue.
- Check for typos: Review your website’s internal links and check for any typos or misspellings. Fix them to ensure that users don’t encounter 404 errors due to typos.
- Monitor your website: Regularly monitor your website for 404 errors using tools like Google Search Console or Screaming Frog to identify and fix them promptly.
In conclusion, a 404 issue in SEO can have negative consequences for a website’s ranking and user experience. Website owners need to be proactive in identifying and fixing 404 errors to maintain their website’s SEO and user confidence. By following the tips outlined above, you can effectively solve 404 errors and avoid their negative impact on your website.