the do's and don'ts • Yoast

A “404 error” page is an essential part of any website. It informs your users the page they requested had been moved or changed. Do you need to pay attention to your 404 page and give it some love? Absolutely yes! In this post, we’ll go through the dos and don’ts of a 404 page and help you get more value out of it.

What is a 404 page, and why do we need it?

 A 404 page, also known as an “error page”, or “page not found” page, is the content your visitors see when they land on a page that doesn’t exist.

The number 404 is the status response code for that page. The 404 response indicates that your visitor’s browser could communicate with your web server, but the server could not find what was requested.

There are many reasons why a requested page can’t be found. It may be that:

  • The page was deleted.
  • There are typos in the URL.
  • The permalink structure has changed.
  • The domain name was changed.

Whatever the reasons, remember that it’s probably your fault and not your users’ fault. So keep that in mind and create content based on that assumption.

It’s worth noting that, sometimes certain pages need to go down temporarily. In that case, it’s much better to serve a 503 Service Unavailable message than serve a 404 error not found.

What to include on your 404 page (the Dos)

When users click on a link, they expect to land on a page that answers their questions or gives them the necessary information. For whatever reason, the page they land on…

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