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Does 404 pages affect your SEO Performance?


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"Error404 - Page Not Found" - one of the most common mistakes we encounter when surfing the internet. It is well known that error web pages offer a negative user experience, but what impact do they have on SEO? Are search engines penalizing websites with too many 404 pages?

In this thread, we will look at the impact of 404 pages on users and search engines and we will review the best ways to solve this problem.

Most common causes of 404 type error
Type 404 errors can occur for many reasons. Some of the most common are:

- your permalink or website link architecture has changed (usually this happens when major site changes are made)
- content has been removed from the site
- someone typing the link in the browser incorrectly
- a bad backlink.

When a user or a robot of a search engine requests access to an error page, web servers usually respond with the HTTP status code "404" to tell the user that the requested web page does not exist on the server. Typically, search engine robots ignore pages with 404 type errors, but for a user, such a mistake can be a negative experience, leaving the website quite quickly and looking for the information you want on other sites.

How can you solve the problem of "Error 404" pages?
First of all, you need to identify the "Error 404" pages on your website. The most used tool to identify such pages is Google Search Console. The steps are as follows: Log into the Google Search Console command pane> Crawl Access> Crawl Errors. Click on the links shown to identify the source pages.

If you use the WordPress platform, you can use a redirect plug-in to monitor the 404 error pages. Once you have a complete list of these pages, you can do more about them. Here are some suggestions:

- implements a "Redirect 301" to the most relevant post or category on the website.
- If the error is due to a wrong link, please the owner of the site hosting the link to update it.
- If none of the above scenarios apply, there is no problem. At one point, Google automatically removes the 404 error pages from the index. You can also manually remove such pages from the index using a tool designed specifically for this. But this task can become very difficult if your site has thousands of pages that display this error.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if you have a portal with thousands of pages of type "Error 404", the most recommended is to not let the search engines waste their time with them. So, use the 301 redirect or the Robots.txt file to block search engine robots from accessing these pages, then remove them from the site using Google Search Console.

404 pages are not necessarily harmful to SEO, but it is not advisable to have too many such pages on the website as they negatively affect the user experience. Keep in mind that Google places a lot of emphasis on user experience indicators, it is not advisable to ignore this problem.

How can you use the 404 pages to your site's advantage?
Everyone agrees that sometimes there are mistakes, especially in programming. When a user tries to access a page that no longer exists, they encounter the message "Error 404 - The page does not exist," which is often an unpleasant experience. Take advantage of the opportunity and interact with it, helping him find the content he searches from the very beginning and redirecting it to similar pages.

A 404 page must be able to persuade the user to continue navigating on your website. When confronted with the message "Page does not exist," most users tend to leave the domain immediately and head to other sites to find the content they are interested in. So even if the landing page is a 404 type, it needs to be interactive enough to capture their attention and give them the opportunity to reach other pages on the site.