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How to find and resolve 404 error (Not Found) Pages? (2024)

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What is a 404 error page?

404 error is a status code returned by servers when a page the user is trying to open doesn’t exist. The page may be permanently deleted without redirection or you have entered the wrong URL in the search.

Types of Error 404 pages

  1. Soft 404 Error
  2. Hard 404 Error

What is a Hard 404 error?

A 404 Error is called a Hard 404 error when the servers return a 404 or 410 HTTPS status code to inform readers and crawlers about the non-existence of the requested page .

This page is removed from search results over time.

This helps and saves search engine bots time and resources in crawling and helps them in focusing on other important pages of the site.

Note: Soft 404 errors can seriously impact your site SEO than Hard 404 errors by wasting time and resources of bots giving users a bad experience.

What is a Soft 404 error?

A 404 error is called a Soft 404 error when the non-existent page the user is trying to access or view is redirected to an irrelevant site’s home page. or

It is redirected to a page with no content that returns a 200 0k status code instead of displaying a 404 not found HTTP Status Code on the browser.

Soft 404 errors can harm SEO because the expected page is different from the actual one which confuses the search engines and users.

By making search engines believe that the page is real, search engines may crawl the page and may display them in SERPs.

Having too many 404 error pages with no content or thin content decreases your site crawl efficiency. It also affects the way Google sees your content and indexes them and may affect your SEO rankings.

Impact of Error 404 pages on SEO

  • It gives users a bad experience and ruins your brand reputation.
  • Users may leave your site increasing the bounce rate and reducing the rankings.
  • Websites with too many broken links make crawling difficult for search engines.

How to deal with Error 404 ?

1. If the page you’re going to delete or trying to change the address of the page is ranking high and has moderate traffic then 301 redirect it from the old address to the new address 

2. You can also ignore pages with no authority and rankings.

Tools to find 404 Error Pages?

Tools, like google search console and google analytics, screaming frog, Xenu Link Sleuth, can help you in finding all the site 404 error pages.