How to Find and Fix 404 Errors
I hope many people can relate to this situation. You might have clicked a website to check information, but you get to see 404-page errors. I know it’s irritating at times. But have you ever thought about why this happened? I think you did; that’s why you have landed on this page. So let’s check out why you get a 404-page error and learn how to fix it on your website.
If you have typed the URL wrongly or if the page doesn’t exist, you shouldn’t get a 404 error as it can harm your SEO, thus making it harder for Google to crawl your site. So it is significant why this error occurs and fix it ASAP.
What is a 404 error?
Let’s learn what a 404 error is. When a webpage loads in a browser, it generates a status code that isn’t usually visible to its users. The 404 error is a client error code that tells you that the requested page cannot be found. There are two types of 404 errors, they are
- Soft 404 errors
- Hard 404 errors
If you get notified about 404 errors on the website you visit, then it is a hard 404 error. But the 404 error remains unnoticed unless you get notified by your Google Search Console, then it is a soft 404 error.
Why do these 404 errors occur?
Now let’s discuss the causes of these 404 errors.
If you have deleted or removed pages in your website without redirecting it properly, then you might get this error.
If you have either transferred or relaunched your domain and haven’t redirected all your old URLs to the new site, you will likely get this error.
Lastly, if you have changed/altered your published URL, it will result in 404 errors. Even if you mistype a URL in links given inside your article (Internal Links), it can result in a 404-page error and broken link.
How can 404 errors affect your ranking?
Repeated 404 errors can greatly affect your user’s experience. You are likely to lose every user/customer who skips your website on seeing this error, and the bounce rate increases. Also, the broken links crawled on your site can lower your ranking. Thus your SEO is harmed.
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How to Find and Fix 404 Errors on Your Site?
We have come to the main topic. Let’s see how we can find and fix this error.
Finding 404 error
You can use a site crawler tool named Screaming Frog to find the broken links that cause these 404 errors. If your site has less than 500 URLs, then this tool is available for free. However, you can’t find all the 404 errors on your site.
To get a complete list of 404 error lists, check out the Google search console. This tool can figure out both hard and soft 404 errors.
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Fix the 404 errors
Now that you have found out your errors, it’s time to fix it. I suggest four different ways to fix it.
- Redirect the 404 error – Redirect users to any relevant page.
- Restore the page – If a particular page gets frequently ranked even after a 404 error has occurred, consider restoring the post on the page.
- Correct the link(broken links)
- Create a 404 page – Create a custom 404 error page if there are a lot of broken links found on your site. This helps in saving your user’s time.
That’s the end of the article, and I hope this guide on finding and fixing 404 errors helped you fix this error on your website. I would also like to suggest a few more tools like Google analytics, dead link checker, Monster Insights to find and fix 404 errors. Hope it helps. Cheers!