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404 Pages And Seo
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The advice and information about SEO found around today cover a great variety of different areas of a website but can be generally grouped into three main categories. These three categories are technical SEO, content SEO or linking SEO. It may surprise you to learn that the way in which a website handles 404 pages can have a negative impact on search engine rankings. Although the full effects of inconsistent or customized 404 pages are not fully known, there is clearly some degree of negative weight involved. In a couple of cases particular themes pass off 200 OK codes from 404 pages and this can mean Google listed error pages which includes the many mistyped URLS returning as 200 OK.
In addition to this, people are also generating 302/301 redirects to a home page or custom error page that provides a 200 OK response code. This means a great many website error pages are being listed in Google search engines including mistyping.
Ideally you do still want to create custom 404 pages so that users can still continue following the links and find the area in your website where they want to be. Providing the customer with options and not just a blank error page will help them to find your website more easily when they mistype your URL so in this respect custom 404 pages are ideal. What you need to remember in these cases, is if you are creating a custom 404 page you need to ensure that the codes it sends out are still 404 error codes and not 200 OK. This will tell Google it is not a real page and the mistyped URL will not be listed in the search engine. It is also important to remember that indexed custom 404 pages will lead to Google identifying duplicate content and this will damage your organic SEO efforts. This is also true of home page redirects where multiple version of the same home page will be indexed in Google but with varying URLs.
There are many things to consider when you encounter the issue of how to handle a 404 error page.
1. Large quantities of 404 error pages can reduce search engine rankings as Google will deem the site Ã¢â‚¬Å“under constructionÃ¢â‚¬Â.
2. When a nonexistent page is requested by the user, the error page you have in pace should have a header response of 404 Page Not Found. This can be followed with custom content such as suggested links. Error pages that return 200 OK will have a negative impact on your search engine rankings and will create duplicate indexed content.
3. Without a custom error page the user or robot is faced with only two possible options. Click the back button or abandon their search altogether. Neither of these options is beneficial to you or the user which is why a correctly configured custom 404 page is more beneficial.
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