404 Error Page - Create A Customized Page for SEO Best Practice
What is 404 Error?
When a user clicks on the broken link or on the page which has been deleted or when they have mistyped a URL, then a ‘404 error page’ will be displayed when a user is trying to reach a non-existent page on your site.
Standard 404 page varies depending on your ISP, which does not provide any useful information to the users. Thus, there are the chances that users may just surf away from your website.
So, creating a customized 404 page is recommended, if you are having access to your server. As a good customized 404 error page can be helpful to find the information what users are looking for and can also help them to explore your site furthermore.
And the amazing thing is that, you can customize it any way you want as a 404 page can also be a standard HTML page.
Limiting the Harm
You won’t be able to remove the need for a 404 page ever. Even if you clean up your entire internal link structure, you will get people mistyping a URL into their search bar.
The URLs that other sites use to link to you, for that you have little control over. Unless you make it your business to contact every website owner those who are linked to your website or make sure that the links are accurate as well as up to date, then you will necessarily get the odd mistakes.
You can also have control, when someone is sent to a 404 from one of your internal pages that is really the most embarrassing as well as detrimental. So to find out what all pages of yours are returning a 404, you just need to check your Webmaster Tools account or you can make a use a tool named 404 Checker.
Why to Create a 404 Page instead of 301 redirection?
You do not have to hide the fact that user have arrived on the page which can’t be found and also don’t get embarrassed. As the visitors are always expecting some interesting things to see and if they don’t see, then they just leave the site. So carefully design your 404 pages and explain them your problem in a good as well as creative manner.
Thus, explain clearly to the people who arrive to a 404 error page that they’re on the wrong page by being polite and also apologize to them. So that there is definitely no confusion.
Well, there are many website owners as well as SEO professional uses a 301 redirection to take their visitors to the site homepage instead of showing them a 404 error page. But from a user’s perspective, it is not always best. Even though being the safest option in terms of keeping back the power of your incoming links.
Also you should use 301 to redirect the users as well as search engines to an alternative page, if you are having a page on your website which receives a great number of relevant links and authority.
Nevertheless, in many cases 404 pages are more appropriate to show your visitors and that should be informative as well as helpful.
Factors to be considered while creating a 404 page
A 404 error page can be customized as well as it is entirely editable just like other pages on your website. Here are the following guidelines which will serve a positive purpose :
Content is the king for and just like other pages on your website, the tone of your written copy is very much important if you want your visitors to take the desired action. Also make sure your language is re-assuring as well as welcoming.
Appearance should be same as the rest of your website pages. If someone appears on a page and if there is an absence of branding or functionality that they were expecting, then they will definitely close the window and can go back to Google. So keep them engaged by keeping your appearance as well as branding consistent.
Help Users - You must tell your visitors what you want them to do next and just give them a call to action. Also help them out to find what they were looking for, by providing them with the most relevant links or else by giving them an option to search within your website. And you can also try to make them laugh and thus give them a positive experience.
Thus, this post is trying to say that, see your 404 page as any other page on your website. And you can serve a very specific purpose, if it is designed and targeted in the right way. Which can keep your visitors engaged and it will be a positive experience for them on your site.