The internet is constantly changing. Websites come and go; and with it so do web pages.
Your website returns a not found 404 message every time it fails to load a page. This can be caused by several reasons – a broken link on or to your website, a user searching for content or a site crawler gathering information.
Search engines such as Google, regularly crawl your website by following page links to create a map of your site. A list of Not Found pages (404) will be displayed in Google Search Console once the crawl is complete. Among pages listed you may recognise mistyped page addresses, incorrect page titles and familiar page URLs that you thought existed on your website.
Will returning 404 pages equate to your website being penalised?
If your website returns 404 errors, this alone does not affect your website standing in search engine results.
Returning a 404 error is not always a bad thing. It can be the right thing and will not impact on your domain authority or website SEO at all. If someone mistypes a URL or searches for a page address that is not available, it is correct for your website to return a 404.
However, if the 404 error is caused by your own making, then a 404 is not good for business. You may have mistyped a URL when creating a link or had reason to edit the name of your page and forgotten to create a 301 redirect from the old to the new URL.
Not only will this result in a bad user experience, but you could also be missing serving the user essential information about your company, products or services. Furthermore, if your website has too many 404s that should be delivering relevant content, the user-experience is going to suffer as much as your business.
It is worth noting that Google may consider penalising your site and domain authority if this causes a detrimental effect to the overall user experience.
Regularly review your company site crawls
It is best practice to regularly review site crawls by using Google Search Console and other independent SEO software, such as MOZ. Reviewing and managing your content will keep your website in good health, and this in turn will help your site SEO, domain authority and your page ranking in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
We can provide you with regular site crawl reports
Buzzin Media has been providing SEO management and services for over 20 years. Contact us today to see how we can work together.