You may have heard the term ?404 error?, but do you know exactly what it means? Let me explain the 404 error with a simple example. If you ask a shop owner about a product, he will give it to you if the item is in stock. However, if it is not available, he will inform you that the product does not exist in his store. Similarly, web servers respond with code 200 if a text/image/video is found on your website. But if the content does not exist, then it shows ?404 error? to the end users.
What are the Possible Reasons of 404 Errors?
Each and every resource on your website, web page, video, image etc. has a specific URL. The URL and the resource mapping should be flawless to ensure exact content delivery to the web surfers. In case this mapping is not done correctly, the 404 error is shown to the users. Let?s take a look at some of the possible reasons for 404 error.
Why 404 Pages Hurt SEO?
Search engine bots don?t like broken links because such web pages simply slow down the crawling process. Besides, users also get disappointed if they click on a link from SERP or any third party website just to discover the ?404 error? message. Since Google gives huge importance to user experience while deciding the rank of a website, 404 error messages can damage both your SERP rank and brand value.
How to Solve the 404 Error?
In case you miss a broken link or can?t remove broken backlinks from third party websites, you must be ready to handle the 404 error professionally. You should embed a search tool on the 404 error page. This search box will help the visitors search for relevant content from the 404 error page itself, without going back to the search engine. This is a great technique to reduce the bounce rate.
Gangadhar Kulkarni is a Internet Marketing Professional having extensive experience in SEO & SMO. He is also founder of seogdk, a digital marketing blog where he shares information about SEO, SMO, SEM, blogging & web technologies by way of articles.