Error 404: The SEO Handbook

Who ever came across this famous message: “Error 404 – this page no longer exists” or “the page you are requesting is not found?” What does that mean? What impact on its SEO? Do I have more internet connection? How to handle these messages/pages? How to deal with the 404 to optimize its SEO?

Do not panic!

What is a 404 error?

Also known as code HTTP 404, this error tells web users that the resource you requested does not exist (or more). Technically, this signal is sent by the servers (where your site is hosted) to your browser, which wants to access this so-called “untraceable” content.

Generally, two scenarios are presented to you if you arrive on page 404:

Either your page has never existed ie the URL is false
Either the page has been deleted.
In any case, this page is not accessible. The purpose of error 404 is to tell the search engine and the user that this page can not be found.

What is the impact of 404 errors on SEO?

Did you find on your site one or more pages that go back in 404? Wondering if your site will be penalized by search engines? Rest assured! Overall, 404 errors are not penalized directly by Google. On the other hand, it is necessary to parameterize the code 404 and to eliminate them from the mesh.

The parameterization of the URLs in 404 makes it possible to signal that all the pages can not be found, it is not rare to see pages 404 which return a code 200. Thus Google will deindex the page in question at a given moment. On the other hand, to facilitate the crawl it is necessary to remove them from the mesh of your site and so that the search engine robots only focus on the important pages of the site.

How to deal with 404 pages for SEO?

However, do not forget that Google appreciates sites with high content and of course accessible! It is, therefore, necessary to ensure the number of 404 that your site returns. Warning, also to sites and backlinks that point to a page in code 404 of your site. You will not be penalized by Google but you will lose the opportunity to have quality backlinks (and when we know the impact of quality backlinks on natural SEO … do not sacrifice it ).

The last case, where your site can be heavily impacted: the technical problem: If by chance a prod ‘(passage online) of your site would have disrupted the architecture of it and created pages 404 on your server, which More is pointing to important pages, it is essential to solving the problem, without waiting. In this case, the relevant pages can be deindexed by Google.

How to detect 404 errors and delete pages?

How to improve google SEO? How to detect your 404 pages? How do you know if they still mesh? “CRAWL” tools widely used in SEO such as xenu or screaming frog, allow crawling (analyze the sets of pages) your site. It will detect all the pages of your site and remount all the error codes for each page present on the site. Thus the famous pages in “error 404 not found” that would still be present on your server and/or mesh will be immediately detected.

These tools will tell you which pages are linked to the 404 in question. You will only have to go on these pages and delete the link. To summarize, pages 404 do not result in a direct penalty but can be a brake on your SEO except for specific cases namely: a large number of 404, technical error and bad backlinks. It is necessary to properly parameterize your 404 and remove them from the mesh of your site.

Delete and replace pages 404

Warning, too many times the owners of websites stop at the step of deleting the page in error. But first, you have to wonder what SEO queries are directing to that landing page? It may be a previously generating traffic page that has simply been renamed or moved. In this case, it is absolutely necessary to carry out a traffic analysis as well as a visibility study and compare the search results. Generally, these reports tell us that it is better to redirect the URL in 404 to the corresponding new page in 301 or better to request a modification of the external page making the link.

How to customize page 404?

If page 404 does not have any positive consequences from an SEO point of view, it nevertheless has a significant impact from a user point of view.

Have you ever encountered a 404 error? Would not it frustrate you? This is the same for all Internet users. They feel a great disappointment at not being able to access the products or contents that they initially wanted during the first request. In this situation, it is difficult to retain the user on his site, especially when your page 404 is not personalized.

It is, therefore, important to customize your 404 error page in order to keep the attention of your users and to offer links allowing him to “redirect” to the page most appropriate to his request or by default the category page Of higher level.

In the case of an e-commerce site, it is very pertinent (from a marketing / cross-selling point of view) to offer to the surfer, to see the top sales or products currently on promotion. Another element to take into account, the design of your page which can be primordial, thanks to a good design, the surfer will feel welcomed and will want to stay on your site. However, be careful not to neglect the user experience at the expense of the originality and design of your page 404. It is important to capture the attention of Internet users and bring it to the page that interests him quickly.

Conclusion: Customize your 404 pages!

Best 404 error pages on the web

404 error page exemple

404 error page exemple

404 error page exemple

404 error page exemple

404 error page exemple

404 error page exemple

source images : creativebloq