What does 404 status code mean for SEO?

What does 404 status code mean for SEO?

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    404 error manifests itself when a server is unable to locate a resource or file that has been requested, often because the resource or file has been relocated to a different place. It may be quite aggravating when you attempt to load information on your website and you receive this error, and it can also drive away prospective clients and users who may be browsing your site.

    If a user on your website attempts to access a URL that does not exist, you should redirect them to a custom error page that informs them of the mistake and explains why the requested URL does not exist. In addition to this, you need to double-check that the server is returning the right HTTP status code of “404.”

    It is indicated by the response status code HTTP 404 Not Found that the server was unable to locate the resource that was requested. It is common practice to refer to links that lead to 404 pages as “broken” or “dead” links, and this kind of connection may be susceptible to link rot. The absence of the resource is not indicated by the 404 status code; neither the duration of the absence nor its status as temporary or permanent is given.

    In order to discover why your 404 error is occurring, let’s go through some of the most frequent reasons why 404 problems occur on websites. This will allow you to get to the bottom of the problem as soon as possible.

    Broken Links

    When you make changes to an existing page on your website or delete a page entirely, and another person connects to that page using an outdated URL, you will have broken links. The majority of the time, these broken links will result in 404 error pages (the HTTP status code for a not found). Writing material that is not only clear and comprehensive but also correct and includes links that are live is the greatest method to prevent broken links.

    Improper Permalinks

    The permanent connection to your website is provided by the permalink. You may specify this on your web server, or you can customize it using the permalink options that are built-in to WordPress.

    If you are using WordPress and you see that it is producing permalinks that are not correct, all you need to do is go to Settings > Permalinks and choose the post name from the list of alternatives. However, bear in mind that these parameters need to be modified as necessary for each post in order to prevent any two entries from having the same permalink.

    Internal Errors

    404 error messages are most often brought on by problems with the code of your website. Comparing your old code with your new code and searching for anything that could be missing or that might have been modified incorrectly is the simplest method to fix these problems. In the majority of situations, a remedy is not difficult to locate.

    GoogleBot Problems

    One of the numerous tools that Google provides is called GoogleBot, and it is a piece of software that crawls and indexes web pages. In the event that GoogleBot is unable to successfully crawl your website, it may give you a 404 error to let you know that something is wrong.

    If you don’t have any meta descriptions, for instance, GoogleBot will see such pages as 404 pages rather than ordinary web pages. This results in a drop in overall traffic, not to mention increased confusion among those who use search engines.

    Web Server Problems

    There is a possibility that the web server is not correctly set up to handle your site. Either there are files that are missing or there is an issue in the setup that is preventing your website from being shown. Check with your website’s web host to see if they can provide any assistance in fixing these problems.

    How to fix soft 404 errors

    • Check that the page is indeed a soft 404  error
    • Configure your server to return the proper not found error code (404/410)
    • Improve the page and request indexing.
    • Redirect the page using a 301 redirection.
    • Keep the page on your site but de-index it from search engines.