If you’re running a website, it’s essential to keep a close eye on your site’s performance. One of the most critical aspects of website monitoring is checking for 404 errors. A 404 error occurs when a user tries to access a page that no longer exists or has been moved without proper redirection.
404 errors can have a significant impact on your website’s overall user experience and SEO. In this post, we’ll discuss why monitoring 404 errors is essential and how you can fix them to improve your website’s performance.
Why Monitoring 404 Errors is Important
- User Experience: When a user encounters a 404 error, it can be frustrating and confusing. They may assume that the website is down or that the content they were looking for is no longer available. This can result in a negative user experience, leading to a higher bounce rate and lower engagement.
- SEO: Search engines like Google penalize websites with a high number of 404 errors. This is because search engines prioritize providing users with the best possible experience, and encountering a 404 error can negatively impact their experience. If search engines detect too many 404 errors on your website, it can result in a lower search engine ranking.
- Broken Links: Broken links can occur when external websites link to pages on your website that no longer exist. Monitoring 404 errors can help you identify these broken links and fix them, ensuring that external links to your site are directing users to the correct pages.
How to Monitor and Fix 404 Errors
- Use Google Search Console: Google Search Console is a free tool that can help you monitor your website’s performance and identify any issues, including 404 errors. Once you’ve identified the errors, you can take steps to fix them, such as redirecting the broken link to a working page.
- Regularly Check Your Website: Regularly checking your website for 404 errors can help you identify issues as they arise. You can use tools like Screaming Frog or Broken Link Checker to scan your website and identify any broken links.
- Implement Proper Redirection: If you’ve removed a page from your website or changed its URL, it’s essential to implement proper redirection to avoid 404 errors. You can use 301 redirects to redirect users and search engines to the correct page.
Monitoring 404 errors is essential to maintain a positive user experience, improve SEO, and ensure that external links to your website are directing users to the correct pages. By regularly checking your website for 404 errors and implementing proper redirection, you can avoid these issues and ensure that your website is performing at its best.