How to Fix “404 Not Found” Errors on Your Website – 6 Tips

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Summary: You should make sure there are no 404 links on your website since 404 errors will affect your website’s SEO performance. This post mainly introduces how to fix the “404 not found” errors on your website.

What Does “404 Not Found” Error Mean?

The “404 not found” error indicates that the page you try to visit cannot be found on the website. The HTTP 404 code is used to inform both users and search engines that the server can’t locate the requested resource. This error might be caused by the deletion of a page, wrong input of the URL, or broken links. If your website has a large number of 404 errors, it can impact the user experience and the SEO performance.

How to Fix “404 Not Found” Errors on Your Website

Googlebot will crawl your website and mark the URLs that no longer exist on your website as 404.

You can use some professional tools to scan and find 404 errors on your website, e.g., Google Search Console, Dead Link Checker, Ahrefs, SEMrush, Screaming Frog, etc.

To view the 404 URLs in Google Search Console, you can click Pages under Indexing. Under the “Why pages aren’t indexed” section, you can click “Not Found 404” to see the affected pages.

Fix 404 Not Found Error

Check the tips below to fix the 404 errors to improve your site health and SEO performance.

1. Double-check the Input URL

You can double-check the URL in your browser to make sure there aren’t any typos. You can also refresh the page to reload it.

2. Implement 301 Redirects for Deleted/Moved Pages

If you deleted a page or moved the content to a new URL, you should properly set up a 301 redirect to redirect the old URL to the new existing URL on your website to avoid 404 errors.

This can be done via your website’s “.htaccess” file or use a CMS plugin.

  • To access and open the “.htaccess” file, you can log into your website hosting service, access the web hosting control panel, go to File Manager > Files > public.html, make sure the hidden files are visible, find the “.htaccess” file and open it. If you don’t see the “.htaccess” file, you can create a new one. Alternatively, you may use an FTP client like FileZilla to access the “.htaccess” file.
  • Type “Redirect 301 /old-page.html http://www.example.com/new-page.html” in the file. Enter the real old and new URLs in the code to set up a 301 redirect.

Alternatively, if you use WordPress to create a website, you can use plugins like Yoast SEO or Redirection to easily set up 301 redirects.

Note: If you are not familiar with editing HTML codes, you should not do it by yourself and better ask a professional programmer for help. Still, always make a backup of your “.htaccess” file before making any changes in case something goes wrong.

3. Restore Mistakenly Deleted Pages

If a page was mistakenly deleted, you can restore it or recreate the page with new content.

To restore a deleted page, you may find and restore it from the Trash. If it is not in the Trash, you may restore it from a recent backup of your website.

If you can’t restore the deleted page, you may manually recreate the page and use the old page URL.

4. Check and Update Internal Links

If the 404 errors are broken internal links, you can check the links and make sure the links are correct and exist. Still, make sure your pages are not pointing to 404 error pages. If you delete a page, you should also check and remove its internal links on related pages on your website.

5. Contact External Websites

If there are some external websites linking to a non-existent page on your website, you can reach out to those websites to ask them to update or remove the link to fix the 404 error.

6. Create a Custom 404 Page

It’s advised you design and create a custom 404 page on your website which may include: a clear message saying that the page is not found, links to popular pages on your website, a link to your homepage, etc. This helps users better navigate your website and have a good browsing experience.

Conclusion

In conclusion, you should use tools to regularly check 404 errors on your website and address them promptly. If your website has some 404 errors, you should check whether the URLs are mistyped or if the pages have been moved or deleted. Still, you should identify if the errors are from internal links, external links, or direct user input. Then you can use the tips in this post to fix the 404 not found errors.

About the Author

James Young

James Young, has been a Google SEO expert for about 10 years. He has helped several companies achieve tens of millions of organic traffic per year in the past. He is talented in this area and tries to dig deeper into Google SEO and online marketing. He offers various SEO thoughts to help others rank higher in Google searches, gain more traffic, and build better websites.