November 24, 2017

How to Craft the Perfect 404 Page

Published: 24 November 2017 

When you come across a page that says 404 page error, then you have stumbled upon a broken link or a page that doesn’t exist. This can be frustrating, and often makes you think the page doesn’t work. A standard 404 page error is a bit cold and just makes the page look “broken”. However, a custom 404 page error can really make all the difference when it comes to keeping visitors to the site.

What is a 404 page?

A 404 page error is shown when you go to a page that does not exist on an active website. It often shows up when there is a broken link or the user inputs a URL that doesn’t exist. It means that the site you are on is active, but the particular page you are looking for is not available.

404 responses have an effect on your SEO efforts

Having broken links on your page often means a poor user experience. Search engines like Google will see the site as low quality and will not rank it very high at all on results pages.

Links are a significant player in the SEO game. If a page comes up with a 404 response, Google will drop it from its PageRank. If there are quite a few links that render the 404 response, then you are you are missing out on opportunities to rank higher. Your whole domain can suffer if important links bring up the 404 page error response. It is essential that you check that your links are working or have them permanently redirected with a 301 redirect.

It also has an effect on visitor behaviour. If there is no link to another page like the homepage, then it appears to be a robotic response showing a “broken” page leaving the user at a dead end. Users are more likely to click out of it rather than stick around.

Go for a custom 404 page

A custom 404 page is the perfect way to help save your SEO efforts and potentially keep visitors on a website. A custom 404 page error can be the chance to show off your creative and witty side, often appealing to audiences more than a cold 404 standard response. It doesn’t seem like a dead end like the standard responses do. It doesn’t dampen the user experience. Take our 404 page as an example, it's pretty simple yet effective.

Custom 404 pages also give you the opportunity to showcase links to more popular pages, driving traffic to some of your more popular pages that may be what the user was originally looking for.

What else can I do to make my page more user-friendly?

Custom 404 pages are great, but it should be more than just a witty saying and picture. Having links such as back to the homepage and a custom search engine will also help site visitors find the information they need. It shows visitors and search engines that there is still an active page and access to other pages of the site.

Make sure your SEO efforts are not wasted. Scouring your page for all the broken links yourself can be very daunting and excruciating. Why not leave this to the experts to sort for you? Matter Solutions can help check for broken links and help create a fun and creative custom 404 page. We will give your brand the chance to shine, even on a 404 page error, keeping both your page visitors and search engines happy. Give our team a call to discuss how we can help your website.

Ben Maden

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