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Although 404 (“Not Found”) pages do not factor into Google’s assessment of your site’s quality, Google does make recommendations on optimal 404 pages.

What are 404 pages?

When someone tries to navigate to a page that does not exist on your site, your server will return a 404 (not found) error.

Error messages occur for a number of reasons, such as a broken referral link, the page being deleted, or a mistyped page URL (user types www.example.com/wiget instead of www.example.com/widget).

Create custom 404 pages

Instead of relying on your server to return a bland, standard 404 page, Google 404 (not found) recommends you create a custom 404 page.

You can customize your 404 page any way you want; however, the following three suggestions can encourage visitors to explore your site further:

  • Tell visitors clearly that the page they are looking for cannot be found. Use language that is friendly and inviting.
  • Make sure the 404 page uses the same look and feel (including navigation) as the rest of your site.
  • Consider adding links to your most popular articles or posts, as well as a link to your homepage.

For an entertaining look at some of the more creative 404 pages on the web, check out the following link.

We’d love to help you design, monitor, and analyze your 404 pages! Drop us a line at client.services@hdmz.com.