404 Error – Page not found

404 Error, Now What? In the digital age, you have certainly been confronted with the message Error 404 Not Found/ HTTP Error 404 or often known as 404 error. But what is this error all about? Nothing more and nothing less than an automatic message from the server, warning that the page was not found or that it no longer exists. Among the main causes for this message are removal of the page from the website, a URL change without redirection, or a typo in the navigation bar. This error is so frequent that it is quite common for websites to have custom pages for when this type of error appears.

This type of fault is described by codes, consisting of three digits. The first relates to the class of the error; in the case of occurrences beginning with the digit 4 or 5, this indicates that the occurrences are visible to users:

  • 4 (“user error”): this indicates that the error was caused by whoever requested the page from the server;
  • 04 (“not found”): the request could not be completed because the HTML document was not found.

To identify the root cause of the problem for Error 404 Not Found, the main causes of it are:

  • Incorrect URL – Checked if the URL (the domain) of the website you are trying to access has been mistyped in the browser’s search bar; or if the same URL is not what you think is correct for the website you want to access.
  • Incompatible extension – In addition to the URL, it is possible that the extension (for example.com/.pt, etc) is not the correct one to access the website in question. Other known variations of domain extensions;
  • Deactivated page – The site maintainer may have deleted the searched page for numerous reasons (either because the product/service is no longer sold, or because the content of the page is no longer relevant to the business, among others.). In these cases, the 404 error is checked when no redirect has been programmed so that the user can access the URL he was initially searching for.
  • Unstable Server – If the server hosting the page you want to access is unstable or overloaded, it is possible that the page may be temporarily inaccessible. That is, even if you are sure that the page exists and that the URL and extension are correct, the 404 error may appear even if the page is working.
  • Viruses and MalwareYou should be aware of any downloads that are made from a dubious source, a virus alert, or any type of malware that is identified, as this may affect your primary browser use. This will cause the browser to lose performance and consequently be unable to redirect hits to the server of the website you wish to visit.

Does the 404 error affect the SEO of pages and, consequently, of the website?

First, it is important to clarify that 404 error pages are not indexed by search engines, so their presence does not cause direct damage to your content optimization strategy. However, such a presence directly influences the user experience on your website and this can lead to serious risk.

As it is already known, Google uses several analysis parameters when it comes to ranking websites to be presented in the results ranking, such as the user experience on the website, as well as their dwell time. So if we try our best to produce valuable content that meets users’ needs, why should we throw it all away by giving the user a confusing experience on our website?

Therefore, even though the 404 error is not directly related to content optimization for search engines, it is important to pay attention to it to provide immediate solutions for its resolution before the damage starts to show.

No one wants to waste time surfing the Internet. And running into Error 404 Not Found along the way is a delay you don’t need.

How can you solve the 404 error?

After you know what the 404 message consists of, here are some tips on how to resolve this issue:

  1. Refresh the page – as basic as this tip may seem, it may fix the problem;
  2. Check the URL and extension – make sure that the URL and extension of the website you want to access are typed correctly in the browser search bar; you can also perform a search to see if the page you want to visit has, for some reason, changed its name;
  3. Clear the browser cache – depending on the cached data in your browser, a website or a page may not open properly and may even display a 404 error, so try clearing the cache and cookies in your browser and/or cell phone if applicable;
  4. Use anti-virus and anti-malware – that is, perform “scans” on your device to ensure that no anti-virus or malware is preventing the browser from working;
  5. Change the access permissions and permanent links – if your website has been developed on WordPress, some files or pages may have access restrictions; in this case, you need to access the file folder of your website and in the directory “wp-admin” proceed to access permissions for all users; you can also try resetting the Permanent Links by WordPress itself.

Unfortunately, 404 errors will eventually happen on your website, whether you want them to or not. Therefore, we recommend that you pay attention to this event to monitor it before you are penalized by google. Keep in mind that 404 errors are never good neither for users, nor for your brand and even less for Google!