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What is a 404 Error on a Website? How Does it Impact SEO

404 error

What is a 404 Error on a Website? How Does it Impact SEO

404 errors occur when the server can’t find the resource of the given URL. It is a common issue that a developer team, SEO experts, and also a common person can find while browsing the web. There are many ways this occurs and we have discussed them all.

How Does 404 Issue Occurs?

The 404 issue occurs when any of the following happens:

  • The internal links given on the website are incorrect.
  • The resources searched have been deleted by the site owner.
  • The end users have to type a random URL that doesn’t exist
  • The website owner has changed the old URL.
  • The backlinks created for the website throw a 404 error.

These are the issues that have thrown 404 errors on the site and impacted the ranking if not fixed on time.

Design & Proper Implementation of 404 Pages

It is an essential template on the website that should follow a hard 404 Error. It means, when the template is created for 404, then it should redirect to a 404 error that is called a hard 404 error. If the template doesn’t show 404 errors and instead shows 200 status but has a 404 design is called a soft 404 error.

Some of 404 Pages Examples:

We have listed good examples of 404 pages based on User Experience on the page.

Bad Example of 404 Page

This is a bad example of 404 pages. Do you know why? Those designs that don’t have any CTA to explore the website from 404 pages are considered bad. From a business, when anyone lands at your 404 page, then it must have some helpful resources that the user can navigate. There must be some top-selling products that we want to showcase. In this way, we can expect better conversion.

bad example of 404 error

Good Example of 404 Pages

The pages listed below have proper navigation that a user can do. There are CTA for going back to the homepage. There is a section for exploring the learning section, blogs & career paths. Any user that has been redirected to this 404 page can navigate properly. This type of 404 page that has all of the mentioned qualities is known as a good 404 page.

How to Find 404 Error as a Developer?

To find the 404 error on any website, we need to crawl the website through SEO Auditing tools like Ahref, Semrush, SE Ranking, Screaming Frog, and so on. This tool will crawl the websites, and give an audit report, specifically, we want the errors related to 404 pages.

For that, we can use any of the tools mentioned but I would use the Screaming Frog tool which was specially meant for technical audit of the website. If you want a cloud-based solution, then you can head towards other tools as mentioned. If you’re a developer or an SEO expert I definitely suggest this SEO training that helps to understand more about Search Engine Optimization Process.

Step by Step Guidance for finding 404 Status Code

Download the Screaming Frog Tool.

You can download the screaming frog latest version of the tool through website. This tool will allow you to run on your system & find out the 404 errors that we are looking forward to solving. You can either use the free version with up to 500 URLs audit. If the website is larger than 500 URLs, you need to purchase the pro version at he price mentioned there.

Go to Tool Dashboard

At the Search Bar, type the domain name and hit enter. After you hit enter the tool will crawl all the URLs & resources listed on the site. There are tons of information we can extract but we are looking exactly for the status code here.

screaming frog tool dashboard

Audit Complete & get 404 Status Code Urls:

After the audit it complete you can check for the status codes & filter them by so you get all the status codes in the moment. You can find the status code there.

After finding the status code, click on single URL > Inlinks Tab > From Url

This is how you can find 404 URLs available on the website & where they are linked from. This will help to optimize the crawl budget & other necessary SEO practices that will help you a lot.

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