Understand How 404s Status Code Works for Your WordPress Website

Error 404 is a common HTTP status code. When someone tries to gain access to a server or an URL, the server sends back a status code, indicating the result of the failed operation. When the websites function in the right way, the 200 status code is commonly sent. It means that your browser could access the server. The server gained access to the requested resource, so a 200 response code got returned.

When seekers connect with a server, but if the requested URL cannot be found, it pulls up the error 404. It means the requested resource is not available at the specific address. For server error, there are status codes like 500, 501 & 503, whereas the 301 & 302 codes refer to redirects.

You can redirect 404 pages in WordPress sites by using the WP 301 Redirects plugin. The plugin has a simple interface. It helps to repair links after your existing site gets restructured, or if any content validity expires. It can effectively help you avoid 404 errors. When visitors come across 404 errors frequently, they leave instantly. Adding some valuable and relevant links to the obsolete page allows for harvesting traffic from the redirects.

Does error 404 damage SEO?

Experts state that errors 404 can ruin your search engine ranking, and recommend you to get them repaired soon. Actually, 404s are normal, as it can be useful on some instances. It is a particular place that does not exist. It is a good strategy to redirect the old deleted pages to a new and relevant page, but it is not good to redirect each 404 error to your landing page.

Outgoing 404s 

Theoretically, 404s impact your ranking. It will not affect your whole website. If 404 error codes get returned, Google knows the page does not exist. Therefore, the crawlers will avoid indexing it. If you want the page to get ranked, then only you will need to ensure that your page exists.

It is not the 404 pages that damage your SEO, but links published the URL also point to the 404s. The links get wasted and are popularly known as broken links. Remember, no broken links mean No 404s. Even if you have hundreds of 404s, the search engines will not find any link, because they technically do not exist.

Incoming 404s

The 404s of other websites can impact your SEO ranking. The URLs from other people site with 404s that point towards your site is called incoming 404s. Incoming 404s cannot be fixed with ease. You cannot change other people’s website URLs, as you don’t own them.

Nevertheless, you can control yours by setting 301 redirects to the deleted pages with backlinks. In this way, link equity from backlinks gets retained.

404s does not damage your SEO. Nevertheless, if you don’t fix them, there is a lot you can miss. Redirect 404s to relevant content using 301 redirects, only when they have backlinks pointing to your pages. However, if there is no traffic, allow the 404s. The broken links on your site will need fixing immediately, in order to increase the flow of link equity.

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