A 404 error or “page not found” is a standard Hypertext Transfer Protocol response code indicating that the server could not find the content requested by the browser. This message usually appears when the server is unwilling to disclose the requested information or when the content has been removed.
To be clear, the 404 error indicates that although the server itself is accessible, the specific page displaying the error is not.
404 error pages alone do not really harm the SEO of a website. In fact, it is normal for some pages to cease to exist, and Google says so…but it is important to keep an eye on these types of errors and not lose sight of them.
The constant appearance of the same errors over and over again or in a significant volume can negatively affect the user experience.
And search engines track this experience by removing non-compliant pages from their results.
For this reason, it is important to identify them and know the cause behind them in order to know how to act.
The main thing to do when solving 404 errors is to identify them.
Many times users mistype the address of a web page and get a 404 error response.
This type of error is not caused by our negligence.
Therefore, what we recommend you to do is to check your entire website for these errors.
Above all, we are interested in identifying:
External links from our site to content removed by other webmasters.
Any of these tools will help you to detect the 404 not found errors on your website and decide what to do with each one of them.
Believe it or not, this is what Google says about 404s:
“In general, 404 errors do not affect the search performance of your website and you can safely ignore them if you are certain that the URLs should not exist on the website. It is important that you check that these and other invalid URLs return the appropriate HTTP 404 response code and are not blocked by the website’s robots.txt file.”
It is OK to display a 404 when the page no longer exists and there is no content to replace it.
Google will already take care of removing it from its index.
On the other hand, if these pages that no longer serve content have inbound links from other domains that bring qualified traffic or authority, then consider redirecting them to another URL that makes sense for the user, or contact the owners of these pages to convince them to remove the links and point them to another URL within the domain.
Finally, if your website has broken links to other domains, we always recommend replacing them with others.
This way if someone clicks on them you will avoid that they find a 404 not found error.
An error 404 on a web page is one of the most common errors we can encounter as webmasters. It has important SEO implications and accumulating many of these errors can affect Google rankings. Knowing how to deal with them is essential to monetize your efforts. In our wiki, you will find out how to identify and fix these errors.
If you find any page on your website with broken links the best option is to correct or remove them. Consider whether it is necessary to restore the old page, replace the link with another one or simply delete it. If you see the same 404 error repeated many times due to a deleted page, consider redirecting to new and related content.