When it comes to effectively managing your website, understanding what a 404 error means is paramount. A 404 error occurs when the URL of a page or resource is invalid or nonexistent, meaning it can’t be found on the website. Here’s what you need to know about 404 errors, why they occur, and how you can use them as part of your SEO and content marketing strategy.
What Is a 404 Error?
A 404 error is an HTTP status code that indicates that a requested web page or resource cannot be found. Typically, this will mean that the URL entered doesn’t exist (or never existed) on the server, or that a link pointing to that page has been broken (perhaps due to a typo in the URL).
To put it simply – if someone were to visit your website and land on a page with a “404 Not Found” message displayed instead of the intended content, this would indicate that there is something wrong with either the URL itself or the link pointing to it.
It’s important to note however that most search engine crawlers are designed to not crawl pages which return a “404 Not Found” response code due their inability to gain any useful information from them. As such, in many cases these pages won’t be indexed at all by search engines and could even have a negative effect on overall ranking – so it pays off to identify and fix such issues as soon as possible.
How Can I Use 404 Errors For SEO And Content Marketing?
The first step towards using 404 errors for SEO purposes is making sure you don’t have too many of them on your site; this means identifying potential dead links and addressing them right away by either updating them with new URLs or redirecting visitors who are trying access those pages elsewhere on your website.
Additionally, you can turn any non-existent URLs into valuable landing pages which contain relevant information related to topics users may be searching for in search engines; essentially this allows you to capitalize on known keyword searches without having existing content related to those keywords already written up.
Finally, you should also consider adding helpful messages when users encounter dead links – these messages can provide additional information such as alternative resources they may find useful while also directing them back towards navigating around your website more successfully moving forward.