Your business website is your virtual business office. You give a peek into your business and its activities. If visitors sometimes want to go to a particular page on your website, but the visitor ends up on a page that no longer is available. This is a very common problem faced by website owners, resulting in website traffic losses.
Google indexes every page on your website. Therefore, it is very important that your SEO specialists and Developers work together to do a 301 redirect of the 404 error page or use the page to provide more information about your business with some useful links (Fix Google’s soft 404 error to solve the problem).
What is a 404 error page?
Sometimes visitors can mistype your website’s URL or your visitor clicks a URL from another website and lands on a page that does not exist or has been removed. The page returns a 404 error response code.
What is Soft 404?
Soft 404s are pages that no longer exist or have been moved, but redirects to an unrelated page on a website like a contact page or homepage. Here the page does not return a 404 error response code (Fix Google’s soft 404 error to solve the problem).
How can Google’s soft 404 bugs cause a drop in traffic?
Google detects soft 404s for every website. If your 404 page does not exist or is blank or does not feature any helpful links or returns a 200-level (success code), Google may continue to crawl and index your 404 pages. When Google sees that this page is not providing useful information to visitors, it could lower your overall rankings (Fix Google’s soft 404 error to solve the problem).
How to solve the 404 pages?
There are some ways to get your 404 pages to bring traffic to your website the right way:
Make sure your website is thoroughly checked for 404 pages, you may have removed the page or moved it elsewhere, so keep a check on them through Google Analytics.
If you have many 404 pages, try to remove them completely from the traffic source from where the link is coming, maybe a third-party advertiser or another page on your website. Once you know the source, let the third party remove the link from their website or you remove the link on your own website.
Check the URL inspection tool to see if your page is returning an HTTPS 404 error code, if not you have a problem. Sometimes, if your page is overloaded with images, videos, etc, it could take time to load the page and show a 404 error. So, make sure you rectify such pages on your website.
Your 404 page must have a 301 redirect (permanent redirect) to an appropriate page on your website or return an HTTPS 404 error code.
You could also place helpful links on the 404 page like contact information or FAQs or other important links to your website. Once Google detects that this page is drawing healthy traffic and is proven useful to visitors, Google will crawl and index the page or pages, thus help in rankings (Fix Google’s soft 404 error to solve the problem).
When you have multiple websites, it is even more difficult to manage every page, unless you have a team of SEO experts and developers who check and rectify soft 404 pages. In order to have systematic and orderly website pages, one must invest in a reputed Digital Marketing Company, like Alpha InfoLab.
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