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You must have seen this message while following a link that takes you to another web page. Whenever such a message is encountered you are unable to visit the destination page. So, what does this error means? What type of error occurs through it that does not allow you to visit the destination page. This entire question might arise in your mind, so to answer all this query here is a brief description on 404 Error Pages.
This can be termed as the error message that is generally displayed when someone wants to surf through a page but cannot do so due to some failure. 404 errors is a response code to the Hypertext Transfer Protocol in the World Wide Web. This tells the visitors that they successfully managed to connect to the server which on return could not serve to the request made. This can be one of the most common error message encountered on the web. Whenever a user surfs a page and clicks any link on that page but the page due to broken link is unable to be opened then this 404 error message is being displayed. 404 error page means that the web page that the link had directed to is not there either deleted or not working or sometimes the link contains a wrong URL. Whenever the server faces this type of problem it returns with a message 404 errors that mean that the server is being communicated but unfortunately it could not reply to the request made and thus returns a 404 error message.
There are some who mixes 404 errors with that of the Server Not Found the error, as this two are completely different. On one hand, 404 error means that the server was communicated successfully but it could not display the desired result whereas “Server Not Found” is shown in cases where destination server cannot be communicated with.
So whenever a communication is made through the HTTP, the server had to reply to the message in some way either by opening the desired website or if any error occurs then showing an error message. In 404, a client error is indicated by the first digit and the next two digits indicate the error that occurred. Beneath that is a phrase that provides a reason for the occurrence of the error. This message is a human readable message. The standard message is “Not Found” and sometimes you can see this message along with the 404 Error message. Some had also managed to develop an HTML page that displays both the 404 and the phrase. This message is mainly shown when a web page is moved from the place or deleted permanently. In the first case, you can rectify it by using the 301 redirect can be used that will take the users to the page that the page id moved to. In the second case, one can choose the 410 Gone.
Now according to Google, 404 errors do not have a direct effect on the SEO and the ranking of the page in the search engine. So, technically 404 errors cannot harm your website so much but if we look at the other part, it does affect the experience of the viewers. Whenever a viewer surfs a web page and encounters a 404 error he will definitely leave the page and will visit another website for getting more knowledge on the subject matter. Google, on one hand, says that they do not take the 404 errors in the account but on the other hand Google do also say that they give utmost importance to the user's experience and do rank the website on basis of that. Again user experience is also very important in cases of content marketing. So, whenever Google finds that the user is not sticking to the page for while and are leaving the website after a short period, Google do highly note it and ranks the page on basis of that. So, indirectly ranking can affect the user experience and that too can affect the ranking of the page in the search engine.
In my opinion, it is not wise to ignore the 404 errors. So, here are some solutions that can help you with the 404 error;
No one would ever want that to surf a page that contains too many 404 errors. Though it directly did not affect the content marketing and SEO but it does affect the user experience which Google and other search engines give a lot of importance. So, a web page with too many 404 errors may not be able to do well with the search engine ranking.