My Page is 404ing, What Do I Do? – Your site page is 404ing; where do you turn? A 404 on a website is a “page not found” error, often returned when pages have been relocated or removed. This means you’ll need to take a little time to find out what happened to your content and correct the errors. Here are a few steps to take when you find a page error.
1. Redirect the Erring Pages
Sometimes, you can create new pages and forget to redirect visitors to the freshly created content. This is an easy fix. If you see 404 errors on your pages related to something else on your site, simply redirect them to something relevant. Alternatively, you can send them back to your homepage to browse your navigation at their leisure.
Any great SEO marketing team will tell you that you need to eliminate all 404 errors as soon as they occur to make the search engines happy; the more 404 errors you have, the less likely your site will rank well on the search engine results pages (SERPs). 404s can hurt you just as much as negative reviews can hurt you—just in different ways.
2. Restore the Pages
Take a gander at your analytics to see how many people are actually trying to find information on the pages that are delivering 404s. If you have a lot of traffic coming to those pages, you might want to consider restoring them rather than redirecting people to another page. A lot of demand can mean big things for your overall marketing campaigns, and if you’ve made a mistake, it can be easily rectified once you check in with your analytics.
3. Correct the Link
If you have broken links on your site, you have the ability to simply edit them, so they point to the correct URL. On the other hand, you won’t be able to correct links on websites that you don’t control.
4. Create 404 Pages
Did you know you can actually create custom 404 pages, so no visit is wasted when someone happens upon a broken link? If you have a lot of 404s, you’ll want to prioritize this above all other elements in your marketing campaign, as 404s can easily lead to frustration that sends people running away from your brand. Or worse, they might even talk smack about your brand online.
Your product, contact, and service pages that deliver 404 errors should be fixed first and foremost. While your other pages may not be quite as pressing, they’re still important to your overall favorability when Google’s algorithms rank your site. As such, be sure to take a look at your Google Search Console when you’re doing a little spring cleaning on your website. You might uncover 404 errors that can be easily remedied using some of the aforementioned tactics.
5. Check the Pages You’ve Recently Added
Let’s say you’ve recently added or moved some of your website’s pages; you might have placed some pages in the wrong folder. This can easily cause 404 errors because the pathways to the pages you’re trying to access don’t lead to the places the internet expects them to go. If you’ve recently added or moved pages, make sure you check in with your site to ensure people are being sent where you expect them to go. If you land on 404s, your visitors will, too. Navigating your pages as though you’re a random visitor is a great way to identify problems and issues before Google, and the other search engines get their hands on you.
6. You Forgot that You Rehosted Your Entire Website
It happens. Sometimes, you’re so in the middle of the mix that you can forget the most obvious of things—like when you rehost your website. If you’ve kept the same webpages but hosted your site under a different company, you could wind up with 404 errors. Usually, hosting sites do the best they can to minimize the lag time for rehoming sites, but sometimes, problems do occur that can cause these issues to last longer than expected.
In these cases, people visiting your site could receive 404 errors. If this is the case, you have a few options: first, you can hang out and wait, hoping the errors clear up on their own. Or, you can contact the new site’s host, which you should consider if it’s a time-sensitive matter, such as a marketing push.
7. Hire an Agency That Can Help You
Sometimes in life, you need a little guidance. If you don’t know how to attack your 404s, you might want to turn to an SEO company that can conduct a full audit of your site and determine just what kind of attention your pages need when it comes to getting rid of 404 errors. Check-in with some SEO professionals to get the most out of your site’s potential!
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