You Just Got 404’D
December 14, 2012
We’ve discussed the importance of being familiar Google’s Webmaster Tools and how helpful it can be maximizing your sites ability to be ranked and identifying any issues that may be holding you back. As you build and expand your site, there will be times when pages get moved, URL’s get broken and your visitors may be temporarily misled to the wrong place (or even worse, no place at all). Clicking on “Crawl Errors” in your Diagnostic section of your GTW is going to be your go-to guide to see what pages are receiving a 404 error from Google as well as your source to fix them.
There are a few things to keep in mind when dealing with pages coming up with 404 errors. The first thing to think about is having a dedicated 404 page so when they do happen (and they most likely will) your visitor isn’t left staring a blank screen and ultimately left wondering where to go from there. The chances of them staying on your site are slim if they aren’t directed to go somewhere else, so having a dedicated page gives you an opportunity to say “oops….go here instead.” There are hundreds of choices out there for creative 404 pages, so picking one is easy and it’s a quick fix that could save you from losing valuable traffic, when you don’t have the time to redirect the actual links.
When you do finally do sit down to perform website maintenance through GWT, you can actually do a 301 redirect to fix the 404 error and tell Google the correct link the page should go to.
Confused? Watch our video below that gives a step by step guide on performing a 301 direct on your pages to ensure your visitors are being directed correctly on your site as well as allowing Google to index them appropriately.