Dissecting 404: Things That Could Happen if Your Page is Broken
With the prevalence of the internet in daily life, nobody is a stranger to an Error 404 page. It’s part of reality for any website, especially ones with constantly-changing or updating content. On the side of the users, this page may be synonymous with frustration, as the solution to a problem remains out of reach.
A “404 Error” page, better known as a broken link or dead link, is a website server’s response code when a browser tries to open a page that the server can’t locate.
This error can occur for several reasons: the page was deleted from the site, the user entered the wrong URL, the link was incorrect or misspelled, the page was moved but not correctly redirected, or the site itself was removed. In some circumstances, 404 pages serve as helpful indicators for troubleshooting site issues.
While Google won’t bat an eye at a couple of 404 pages, having too many of them on your site can harm your brand’s performance and your site visitors’ experience. Users who encounter an Error 404 while looking for content on your website will either try to resolve the problem through their browser or halt their search entirely, leaving them with a negative impression of your brand.
On your end, your website will incur a higher bounce rate and short time on site, affecting your brand’s overall image and ranking on the results page, making you lose precious traffic.
The solution to avoiding this nightmare is to fix error 404 pages. With the right tools, you can spot these pages and address the issue to ensure that your visitors find the page they need or, if necessary, create a smart 404 page that keeps them browsing within your site.
For an overview of how to find and tackle these error pages, check out the infographic below.