Definition: The 404 Error Page, known as "page not found," is an HTTP[S] standardized status code that indicates an established connection with the server but an inability to find the page in question. Excessive 404 errors negatively impact a website's SEO and are lost revenue opportunities when the user does not ultimately navigate to the website.
A 404 response code can be caused on either the user or website's end.
a) Client (User):
b) Host (website):
According to a Webmasters' survey, 77% of people who attempt to visit a webpage but receive the 404 Error Page instead make no further attempt to access the searched-for page.
The average website will show 7 out of every 100 would-be visitors the 404 error page, demonstrating the profit potential for minimizing broken links. Keeping the rate at or near zero is the best way to capture the maximum number of visitors, but another way is to customize the site's 404 Error Page to assist the would-be visitor in finding the website and to assure him or her that the issue is being addressed.
Besides losing customers when a 404 error is actually displayed, there are negative SEO impacts to having a high 404 error rate:
To ensure 404 errors don't get out of hand, it is considered best practice to regularly check for and fix broken links. While 404 errors can be found in log files, the easiest method is by navigating to Google Search Console. When remedying 404 errors, there are three easy ways to classify them: