404 Errors And 404 Pages – Explanation And Tips

What is a 404 error?

The 404 error is also known as “Error 404” and is a client-side error that belongs to the 4xx error class. The server receives a request, but cannot carry it out. The reason for this is usually a faulty client request. The most common client errors are:

  • Status code 404 – Not Found: The HTTP status code 404 indicates that the requested website data was not found on the server. This could mean that the web address no longer exists or the content has been moved to a new address.
  • Error code 403 – Forbidden / Forbidden / Inadmissible: The HTTP status code 403 informs the client that the requested data is access-protected and that the request cannot be carried out due to a lack of client authorization.

Reasons for a 404 error message

There are a few reasons that can cause 404 error messages. The following list summarizes potential sources of error:

  • The content of a URL was either deleted or moved – without any changes to the internal links of the website.
  • For example, the webserver is down, or the connection has been interrupted.
  • The URL was entered incorrectly in the browser bar.
  • The domain name called up cannot be converted into an IP in the domain name system.
  • The domain name called no longer exists.

Tips on how to fix 404 errors

Special analysis programs are required to identify the 404 errors on your own website. These analyze the respective websites and list all identified 404 problems. These results are divided into two types:

  • Internal 404 errors: There are problems with the links within your own website. These can be resolved by setting up forwarding.
  • External 404 errors: With these error messages, for example, redirection to another suitable website can be set up, or the webmaster of the linking website can be contacted and asked to correct the link.

What do 404 error pages mean for search engine optimization?

Many 404 errors on a page can negatively affect the ranking. These are clearly bad signals for Google, so this problem should be addressed as quickly as possible as part of the SEO work. The search engine wants the best answers to searches, and a 404 page is pretty much the opposite of that.

Get creative with a 404 page.

It is generally recommended to fix 404 problems as soon as possible. However, if this cannot be implemented quickly, the creation of a creative and charming 404 error page is suggested. This is definitely worth it, because, for example, typing errors when entering the URL can always result in 404 pages. Here the user should be picked up as well as possible. So that a potential customer is not immediately scared and jumps off, the 404 pages should explain and forward. 404 pages are designed correctly from the dead-end to the redirection and improve the user experience.

The following tips serve as a guide:

  • Take into account the design of the website and ensure that the display of the error message is integrated into the website in terms of content and appearance.
  • Explain to the internet user that there is a problem. Instead of just stating “404 Not found” or “Error 404: Page not found”, a brief description should be given of why the user came to this page.
  • Many successful 404 error pages are presented in a funny and self-deprecating way, which has a positive effect on Internet users. It is advisable that the texts used should not be longer than necessary. In addition to texts, images, animations, and videos can also be used.
  • Animations or mini browser games can also be integrated into a 404 page. This possibility is associated with some effort, but it generates the greatest amount of attention.

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