the do’s and don’ts • Yoast

the do’s and don’ts • Yoast


A “404 error” web page is an important a part of any web site. It informs your customers the web page they requested had been moved or modified. Do you have to take note of your 404 web page and provides it some love? Completely sure! On this publish, we’ll undergo the dos and don’ts of a 404 web page and assist you get extra worth out of it.

What’s a 404 web page, and why do we’d like it?

 A 404 web page, also referred to as an “error web page”, or “web page not discovered” web page, is the content material your guests see once they land on a web page that doesn’t exist.

The quantity 404 is the status response code for that web page. The 404 response signifies that your customer’s browser may talk together with your internet server, however the server couldn’t discover what was requested.

There are various the explanation why a requested web page can’t be discovered. It could be that:

  • The web page was deleted.
  • There are typos within the URL.
  • The permalink construction has modified.
  • The area identify was modified.

Regardless of the causes, keep in mind that it’s most likely your fault and never your customers’ fault. So preserve that in thoughts and create content material based mostly on that assumption.

It’s value noting that, typically sure pages must go down quickly. In that case, it’s a lot better to serve a 503 Service Unavailable message than serve a 404 error not discovered.

What to incorporate in your 404 web page (the Dos)

When customers click on on a hyperlink, they anticipate to land on a web page that solutions their questions or provides them the mandatory info. For no matter purpose, the web page they land on returns a 404 message. In that case, what ought to they do subsequent? 

In case you don’t assist your customers take the following step after they land on a 404 web page, they may nonetheless browse your website for info. However nothing is stopping them from leaving and shopping different web sites. In that case, you’re not offering customers with what they want whereas dropping visitors to your competitors.

A greater method to make the most of your 404 web page is to assist customers navigate to different helpful pages in your website. There are various methods to go about that. As an example, you can:

  • Embrace a search bar so customers can rapidly seek for different info.
  • Embrace a button that takes customers to the homepage.
  • Embrace hyperlinks to different vital/widespread sections in your web site.
  • Embrace hyperlinks to widespread product or class pages.
  • Information them to learn your widespread or most up-to-date weblog posts.

As for the error message, make it completely clear you could’t discover the requested web page. A easy “We might have deleted or moved this web page” ought to be advantageous.

Examples of good 404 pages

Beneath are examples of fine 404 pages. These pages present additional worth — or enjoyment! — to guests by together with choices to assist them navigate the web site, whether or not through the search bar, store web page hyperlinks, or widespread weblog posts.’s 404 web page
Lego’s 404 web page remains to be superior
Our personal 404 web page

The worth of your 404 web page

Many entrepreneurs and web site homeowners don’t see the worth within the 404 web page, which shouldn’t be the case. When you have an internet site, you need to preserve your guests in your website. You need them to have interaction together with your content material, browse different pages or try your presents. But when they land on an error web page with nothing to level them in the correct path, they’ll probably flip again and depart.

That’s why you have to assist guests navigate your website once they land on a 404 web page. By doing so, your 404 web page might assist to:

  • Scale back bounce charge and preserve folks in your website longer;
  • Have interaction your guests with different content material or presents in your website;
  • Make it simpler for guests to navigate your website;
  • Preserve a constant branding expertise whereas build up your model picture.

Content material administration methods like WordPress or your internet server embrace a default 404 error message web page. However these default pages are ugly and really naked bone. There’s nothing there in addition to the error message, not even traces of your branding. That’s why you have to customise your 404 web page, which will be simply executed through plugins should you’re a newbie. A fast search on provides you a lot choices.

The default 404 web page that WordPress creates

What to not do on a 404 web page (the Don’ts)

Many web sites do a 301 redirect from a 404 web page to the homepage, which isn’t an excellent follow. What you’re doing is placing folks on a prepare they didn’t select themselves. Why ship them to London in the event that they need to go to Paris? If a customer desires to discover a specific web page in your web site, please give them that web page or a proof of why you may’t.

Being humorous is an effective factor. However in relation to a 404 web page, we’d as a substitute create an precise web page that’s useful to customers as a substitute of a humorous one that gives no worth. Enjoyable is nice, and it may match effectively together with your model picture. However you have to make it work. Please don’t put an image of a giraffe licking the display screen and suppose your customer will like your web site no matter not discovering what they need. Assist them get again on observe. Or level them to your homepage to begin over once more (however don’t redirect them!).

One other factor we strongly recommend in opposition to shouldn’t be customizing your 404 web page in any respect. As talked about above, the default 404 web page that WordPress or your internet server contains is lackluster. It doesn’t present any additional worth to your guests. That’s not what you need! So ensure that your web site has a customized 404 web page, and ensure it helps guests navigate your website by some means.

Examples of 404 pages that may be higher

Beneath are examples of 404 pages we predict can do higher, whether or not by together with a search bar, hyperlinks to widespread pages or classes, or only a higher copy for the “error not discovered” message itself.

IMDB’s 404 web page
South Park’s 404 web page

404 pages and influence on web optimization

It’s value noting that having some 404 errors on an internet site shouldn’t be essentially a trigger for concern. It’s widespread for web sites to have damaged hyperlinks or pages which can be eliminated or renamed over time. Google additionally said that having some 404 pages doesn’t harm your general web site rating. Nevertheless, if a good portion of your internet pages returns 404 errors, this might point out extra vital structural points which will have an effect on web optimization.

You possibly can intently monitor your 404 pages through the use of instruments comparable to Google Search Console or Screaming Frog. Be certain that to watch and repair 404 errors commonly. That helps guarantee your web site is correctly crawled and listed by Google and will assist enhance your general web optimization efficiency.

It’s additionally important to make sure that any internal links to a lacking web page are up to date to level to related content material in your website. Doing so ensures that your customers and search engines like google are directed to essentially the most related pages. It additionally prevents them from encountering extra 404 errors.

Why do you suppose your 404 Not Discovered web page is nice?

Or maybe you’ve gotten some nice examples, good or unhealthy. We’d like to see these, so please drop a hyperlink within the feedback!

Learn extra: Website maintenance: 404 error pages »


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