A 404 page is the HTTP standard response code that indicates that a user reached a non-existent page because of clicking on a broken link, mistyping a URL, or because the page has been deleted.
In such cases, a user usually sees one of the standard messages:
- 404 Not Found
- 404 Error
- HTTP 404 Not Found
- The page cannot be found
- The requested URL was not found on this server
That’s why it is not recommended to use 302 redirects if you are permanently moving a page or a website. Instead, stick to a 301 redirect to preserve link juice and avoid duplicate content issues.
How to resolve it: #
Instead of standard messages, a user may see a well-designed page with customized navigation elements.
No matter how hard you try fixing all the errors, users will occasionally bump into your 404 page for one reason or another. That’s why your main goal is to provide a user with a rather pleasant experience.
First, let’s take a look at Google’s recommendations to create the right 404 pages:
- Notify users in a polite form that the requested page is not available.
- Design a 404 page in the same way as other pages of the website. Navigation elements should look the same too.
- Link your 404 page to the most popular articles or comment sections, as well as to the main page.
- Provide users with an opportunity to report broken links.
- Even if your 404 page is useful and looks great, you don’t want it to appear in Google search results. Make sure that the webserver returns an actual 404 HTTP status code when a missing page is requested. It is necessary to prevent such pages to be indexed by search engines.