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  • What is error 404 and how to fix it?

    Seeing these numbers on their screen causes the user to leave the page. This negatively affects both sides. The user did not get the desired information, and the visitor’s resource.

    What is error 404? This HTTP-code means – nothing was found. It occurs due to the fact that the server, while processing the request from the user has not found the requested file. In this case, it sends a response – this unfortunate code 404.  When the server found the necessary file, it sends the code 200. 

    The decoding of the error is as follows:

    • 4 – indicates inaccuracy on the part of the user, he may have requested a page that does not exist or made a mistake when entering the link;
    • 0 – syntax error;
    • 4 – the requested source will not be found.

    The problem for the site is that the user will quickly leave the page. This may have a negative impact on the position of the resource in the search engine. When ranking Google takes into account the time the visitor is on the site.   

    How do I identify a page with a 404 error?

    It is necessary to systematically check pages for this error. If you eliminate the problem in time you can save positions in the search engine and the level of user traffic. To check for a 404 error you can use special tools from Google. In addition there are other ways.

    There are programs that help detect pages with duplicates and “broken” links. You can do this with the help of such services:

    • Netpeak Spider;
    • Screaming Frog Seo
    • Spider;
    • Xenu Link Sleuth.

    The first two tools are paid, the third is free. It is also possible to detect an error 404 with a content management system. For example, when the resource runs on WordPress, you can check with a special plugin Broken Link Checker. All “corrupted” links are stored in the corresponding group “Incorrect links”. 

    There are tools for the browser. In Chrome you can install a special application Redirect path. It helps to detect 404 errors on pages. There is a tool Chrome Check My Links. It independently checks the resource for problematic pages.

    How can I eliminate the 404 error?

    The best way is to take preventive measures. There are two ways to prevent this failure: 

    • When a large number of pages are deleted, you should set 410 instead of 404 response. It indicates the permanent absence of the desired page. In this way they are more quickly removed from search engines;
    • During a change in the link structure of the portal, you must install a 301 redirect on all pages that have been moved to the new address. When requesting the old link, the user will automatically go to the new one. 

    Provided that these actions have not caused a proper effect, it is necessary to find “broken” links and make adjustments, namely – to set the response 410 or 301 redirect. Regular error checking allows you to avoid wasting a lot of time on fixes.

    A few recommendations below help to reduce the likelihood of a 404 error:

    • It is better to set uncomplicated URLs, this way users will be less likely to make mistakes when entering the address;
    • It is necessary in advance to determine the structure of the site. This will help to avoid radical changes, they have a negative impact on attendance;
    • Instead of removing pages with a product, even in its absence, it is better to offer to go to the user in another category;
    • It is necessary to use a reliable server;
    • Design the 404 page so that it attracts attention and keeps the user on the resource. 
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