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404 Pages Not an Evil

04/13/2017 4:36 PM by Ellys Kho in Seo

Last night when I read an article in a random website while reading I have found a really interesting and I click the link to read the content, but unfortunately, the link is dead and I found 404 page, this is very disappointing because I have been very curious about the article content. Suddenly I recall some SEOs Experts said "404s is a Bad News, 404s can cause Google negatively scores your SEO and Rank, so redirect all 404s to somewhere to pass link juice", are you agree with this ?.

404 Pages Not an Evil

Normally people will freak out when they find out the 404s in their web pages. In internet lifestyle, The 404 pages is a normal thing they can be found anywhere example: when the users type a wrong URL, the pages you see do not exist or the URL has been removed from web pages and until now there no proof that Search Engine punished and penalized a website because of 404s pages.

But the 404s pages can be a Bad news when 404s pages more than your index URLs, so to avoid it you can using Google Webmasters Tool to remove the URL that removed from your web pages from they search engine results pages. Another potentially negative effect of 404 page has valuable links and I suggest you every 404 pages need to be redirected 301 to the new location.

remove broken links from Google Webmaster Tool

Best Practices for Redirecting 404 Pages

  1. 404s not always be redirected.
  2. 404s not always redirected to home page.
  3. 404s must redirect to relevant categories or topic.
  4. 404s is a normal thing.

To improve your Users Experiences you can create custom 404 page and here some recommendation to create effective 404 page and help your site users to find the information the needed:

  • Use simple and understandable language and tell your users the page they looking is can not be found.
  • Make sure the 404 page uses the same look with your home page.
  • Put your latest articles links in your 404 page.
  • Do not allow 404 page indexed by search engine.

Additional resources about 404s

Bing's 404 page best practices

Google's 404 page best practices

Cool 404 examples

Broken Links Checker Tool

How to Redirect 404s pages to your custom 404 page?

When you have setup custom page for your 404 page, all you need to do is sent all visitors of 404s pages to your custom 404 page using .htaccess in your web host root, and put this code line:

ErrorDocument 404 /404.php


ErrorDocument 404 /404.html



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