If you are using Google Webmaster Tools then you must have seen 404 errors appearing on your message board. Do you have any idea what is the meaning of a 404 error? Well, a 404 error is usually generated when any of your webpage is not working properly and a user tries to reach it. Alternatively, a user may write a wrong URL of your domain in his browser that will result in sending that user to a 404 error page. It doesn’t matter how hard you try, you cannot get rid of these errors. Even if you want to remove a 404 error from your website, you will encounter some other 404 errors in future. In this post, we will be discussing some important things about these errors and how to cope with them.
Are 404 errors bad for your website?
Different people have different views about this issue. Some of the experts believe that 404 errors are bad for your website because if a visitor sees them, he may never come back again. Also, this can have bad impact on over all reputation of your website as well. A webmaster wants to keep his website as clean as possible but with the detection of a 404 error, website never remains clean. On the other hand, there are experts who believe that 404 errors do nothing wrong with your website because no matter how much you try to avoid these errors, they will keep occurring. This is like a natural phenomenon and you better get used to it.
Are 404 errors bad for SEO?
This is the most important question that any webmaster will have in his/ her mind. Keeping the fact in mind that Google spiders keep crawling your website to find quality content and whey don’t find any quality content or something fishy, they even penalize your website. So, a 404 error page is a bad quality content that is not liked by search engines, if you will not do anything about it, it will have bad effects on over all SEO of your website.
Can you delete/ remove those errors from Google Webmaster?
Unfortunately, the only thing that you can do about 404 errors in Google Webmaster Tools is to detect them. There is no such feature in Google Webmaster Tools with the help of which you can remove/ delete these error messages. However, if you find out that any URL of your website is not working properly, you can try to fix it from your end and not from Google Webmaster.
Can you do anything productive with 404 errors appearing on your website?
Now you must be thinking if there is anything productive that can be done with these error messages, knowing that no matter how hard you try, they will keep appearing again and again. Actually, yes you can do something productive with these error messages too. A common technique is to change the code of your website and 301 redirect all 404 error pages towards another page on your website (not a good practice according to some SEO experts). Another thing that you can do is to design a custom 404 page for your website and make it as beautiful as possible. Also add links to different pages of your website from that custom page so a visitor can find what he was looking for.