The appearance of 404 page means that the site could not find the desired page because it does not exist. This error creates many problems when working with the site. In this article, we want to tell you how you can find and eliminate them.
WHAT ARE 404 PAGES HARMFUL FOR WEBSITES?
Pages with the response code of the server 404 are on any site, to get to them you need to enter a non-existent page address in the address bar of the browser.
If a 404 error occurs due to the deletion of a page or a “broken” link on the site, it has a bad effect on promotion.
And also because:
- Behavioral factors suffer
Users do not like sites with non-working pages. They leave such sites quickly and rarely return.
- Crawling budget “merges”
Any site has a limited crawling budget and search engines cannot index many pages at once. And if when scanning the site there are many 404 pages – there is a low probability that the work will get to new or updated pages
- Losing weight
When you delete a page, all the links that lead to it or from it go nowhere.
Links that lead to pages 404 are called “broken” and have a negative effect on site promotion. Therefore, when deleting pages, delete or replace the links that lead to them.
HOW DO 404 PAGES APPEAR?
The reasons for 404 errors are several:
- Incorrect spelling of the URL.
- Deleted page.
- The page has been moved to a new address, but the redirect has not been configured.
Regardless of the cause of the 404 pages, they must be corrected.
HOW TO FIND 404 PAGES?
There are many ways to check the site for 404 pages, but we recommend using all of the following at the same time.
Google Search Console debugging
- Go to the Google Webmaster Dashboard and go to the Coverage tab.
- If you click on the ” Error ” tab – you will see a list of pages with error 404.
Google Analytics debugging
You can find out how many users encountered an error on the site in the report on the pages.
- Click on the menu item Behavior / Site Content / All Pages.
- Sort pages by page ” Page not found ” or ” 404 ” depending on what it is called on your site.
- Click “Page Name ” and use the ” More ” button to search for “404” (or “Page Not Found”):
- GA will filter all pages by the specified title and show a report by the number of sessions that received a response code of 404:
- Click on the page name and you will get a list of URLs with an error 404, which will need to be processed:
Site analysis by Screaming Frog
- Enter the site address and click ” Start “.
- When the scanning process is complete, go to the ” Response Codes ” tab – there you will see a list of all pages with code 404.
Troubleshoot with the Check My Links extension
- Install a special Check My Links extension in Google Chrome.
- Enter the site address with the ” site: ” operator in the Google search bar and you will see all the indexed pages of your site and their response codes:
WHAT TO DO WITH 404 PAGES?
If you find pages 404 – you need to get rid of them immediately.
Ways to troubleshoot 404:
- Replacing non-working links with working ones.
- Remove all links that lead to pages 404.
- Remove 404 pages from the search engine index.
Learn how to remove pages from the Google index in help.
EXAMPLES OF ORIGINAL PAGE DESIGN WITH 404 ERROR:
It is impossible to get rid of 404 pages completely because they can be allowed by the site visitors themselves. But everything must be done to reduce their negative impact. It is also important to properly design a non-working page:
- Write why the visitor was here and what to do next.
- Offer to visit the main page of the site or the most popular sections.
- Add a site search form.
- The design of page 404 should correspond to the registration of a site.
- You can leave contact information.
Conduct a regular site audit to quickly identify and eliminate 404 pages! If you need help – contact us!