HOW TO OPTIMIZE 404 ERROR PAGES

We've all experienced it.

It's the equivalent of driving halfway before you see an unexpected "ROAD CLOSED" sign, leaving you frustrated when you're forced to turn around and find an alternative route, or worse, back to where you came from. Overall, the 404 error pages have become a bit of a killjoy for both users and website owners.

What causes the error 404 pages?  Although not ideal, the strange 404 page is not the end of your entire business - the occasional 404 is to be expected.  Don't worry, you are not responsible for every 404 pages on your website.  It's as simple as this: the bigger your website, the more 404s will appear.  It's inevitable, so it's critical to know how to manage and direct 404 pages.

The three main causes of error 404 pages:

  1. BROKEN LINKS:  As your website grows, you will have to adjust it frequently, so it is very likely that 404 broken links will appear.
  2. DELETED CONTENT:  Adjusting the content of your website will normally result in a 404 error message.
  3. MISSPELLED URL:  Technically, it's the browser's fault, but it's still your responsibility to impress them with incredible user experience.

WHAT'S THE PROBLEM?

Don't be afraid if your website experiences page 404 occasionally.  That said, too many 404 pages can have a negative effect on the effectiveness of your account.  Search engines recognize 404 gateways as random errors on your site.  This is because when a browser finds a 404, its immediate reaction is to click the "Back" button and return to the search engine from which they found your website.  This chain of events is called "pogo-sticking".  If this becomes a repeated action for customers, it communicates that its content is ineffective.  Search engines then start to believe that you're not adding specific keywords of value, which is what really harms SEO.

SOLUTIONS FOR 404 ERROR PAGES

DESIGN A RELEVANT AND CHEERFUL 404 PAGE

Fortunately, there is a fairly simple way to deal with the 404 gateway problem.

The most successful organizations often design customized 404 branded pages to maintain their user experience.  Your 404 is an extension and representation of you as a business, so be consistent and don't overlook it.  Reassuring customers with a skillful, attractive, and useful 404 page ensures that the visitor are redirected to another page on your site and keeps them moving through the sales funnel.

COMMUNICATE CLEARLY

It is understandable for a visitor to be frustrated when they land on a 404 page.  Make sure your 404 page uses simple explanatory text, and make sure it sounds like an apology.  It's amazing how few people really know what a 404 is, and the use of technical jargon will only frustrate users even more.

ADD LINKS

Once you've created your 404 page with your style, it's time to add several internal links to encourage visitors to stay on your site, rather than clicking "back".  Providing suggested links to browsers that are attractive and useful will mean they are more likely to continue browsing your site.

Incorporating links on your 404 page greatly increases the chances that a customer will stay on your site and move along your sales funnel.  By providing visitors with links to relevant content, you are avoiding the pogo-sticking mentioned above and at the same time boosting your SEO. 

ADD A SEARCH BAR TO YOUR PAGE 404

This is one of the simplest features of a website, but one that has really stood the test of time. 

Adding a search bar to your 404 pages can transform the otherwise disappointing user experience.  It is essential that a customer are redirected so that they can quickly find themselves surfing another part of your website.  A search bar allows visitors to search for what interests them and regain control of their browsing experience.

ADD A CONTACT FORM

Some visitors feel the need to take action when they find a 404 error page, so give users the opportunity to report the problem.  Including a simple contact form in your 404 gateways acts to empower the visitor and lets them voice their concerns.

Share this blog  

Keep in touch with us!

gear mail mailopen