Before we get into detail understanding about the connection between SEO and 404 error pages, it’s time to know about what exactly is a 404 error page, why is appears and whether is beneficial for your website.
The error is basically an HTTP standard response code that usually occurs when a user searches for some page for which the access is denied by Google due to problem in redirecting the URL or if the page is moved/deleted. The page appears when a user requests for a missing page for which HTTP send a message stating “page not found.” You may also come across custom error page, which is basically a user friendly message created for users. There is no difference between the two as both pages serve same purpose, when users try to access non-existent sites.
It is advisable to use user friendly message for 404 error pages. This is a technical term which is used by people outside digital marketing and web development industries may not understand.
How to tackle 404 errors effectively for web site’s search engine rankings?
This is perhaps creates worry among Seo experts. It is hard to say alone these pages are causing your rankings to drop, but Google certainly isn’t going to reward you for having an abundance of 404 pages on your site.
In such cases, it is better keep on 301 redirecting them or rebuilding content on those pages if possible and see what happens.
Some of the ways to tackle 404 error pages are:
1) Keep your message simple focusing on using user friendly site navigation and same template layout
2) For a quick contact, you can include contact information
3) Each website featuring blog section should links to recent or featured posts
4) Redirect URL to an appropriate page. Most SEO experts use Homepage for redirecting, instead you can focus on using some other website page from a point of view of customers.
One advantage of establishing a custom 404 error page is it compels users to stay on your site and explore it further as you have provided useful information and content. To spice up the page, you can add a search box, show articles relevant to user search query, or show some of the most popular articles from your portal. The whole idea is to give a good user experience.