Understanding 404 Errors and Their Impact On Your Website

Have you ever landed on a website and found a 404 error, wondering what that meant? Or you may be monitoring your website on Google Search Console and have encountered 404 errors. These are nothing to worry about severely, but catching on to these early on as a website owner is important. 404 errors can affect any website and are not exactly the same type of error. Learn more about 404 errors, how they impact your website, and what you can do to solve the error today!

What is A 404 Error?

404 errors are server not found errors, meaning the server cannot find the requested document. This is due to a page not being found or a URL no longer being active on a website. Whether the URL has changed or been moved to a new location, a 404 error will be displayed on the website. There are two types of 404 errors: hard and soft 404s.

Hard vs Soft 404 Error

A hard 404 error is a true 404 error in which your website returns a 404 HTTP status code, whereas a soft 404 error is where your website’s server returns a 200 HTTP status code, and Google believes it should return a 404 HTTP status code. When a user visits your website and lands on a piece of content that is not available, they may see a webpage with a message that says “No Results Found”. The webpage is available, but your website’s server sends a 200 HTTP status code. According to Google, a page with no content on it results in a soft 404 error.

How 404 Errors Impact Your Website

If 404 errors go unnoticed for too long on your website, it can affect your website in a few ways. Many 404 errors are caused by links when a user visits a link that is no longer active or a page removed from a website. These will take search engine crawlers away from your website’s content because they will follow the links to the pages with no content and will spend less time crawling pages with actual content. This will also affect search engine ranking because if another website has a backlink with that specific URL to your website, visitors will see the 404 error when they land. These errors also cause a negative user experience, and landing on a page with no content can be frustrating. 

Why You Should Fix 404 Errors

If you have 404 errors on your website, it’s always a good idea to fix them as it improves user experience. When someone lands on a page with a 404 error, they cannot get the information they were hoping to find. Redirecting these pages to the homepage or another page created to replace the page with a 404 error will improve the user experience on your website. If these pages are not fixed, it will hurt your SEO and disturb users’ browsing experience. 

Technical SEO and Digital Marketing Services At Boston Web Marketing 

Boston Web Marketing is here to help businesses achieve new heights through SEO. Our digital marketing and technical SEO services ensure your website is attractive and functioning properly for Google and its users. If you have questions about your website or any errors or other issues that may be going on, contact our team today to get started working with us! 

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