A 404 error can be annoying for the users coming to your websites. But there are many 404 page best practices to follow that can create a positive impact on the user experience and even up your content marketing game.
The visitors to your website might land on a 404 page error often. If they are not aware of what it means, you must be well versed with a 404 error page as it is unavoidable. So, what is a 404 page? It implies that the page the user intended to reach cannot be found or does not exist.
This error can occur if the accessed link has been moved to a different URL, deleted without restoration or redirection, or even broken due to some typo. However, it is also important to know the ways this error can be fixed before using it in your favor.
Also known as “Page Not Found” or “error page”, a 404 page indicates that the user reached the domain they were looking for, however, the URL path provided by them contains no information. It comes under the HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol) response. It can happen due to any of these three reasons:
1. Page has been deleted
2. Broken link
3. Mistyping a URL
They might not be unavoidable, but can still be fixed if found in time. You could check in with your error pages using the following methods:
One of the easiest ways to eliminate this error is by redirecting the page to another one. Make sure that the page that you are redirecting to is relevant to the previous page that was found as an error.
It is possible that the URL has been wrongly typed and it's a common human error. Just go back to the URL and type it correctly to land on the page you wanted to.
It often happens that some pages get deleted due to technical reasons. However, the users might not be aware of that and may still land on the page either through your website or external links. Make sure to either restore the page or redirect them to a page with similar content.
Your 404 error page is a part of your website. 404 best page practices ensure maximum engagement by users on the page. As much attention as you give to the rest of your website to make it aesthetically pleasing and easy to use, the same should be followedfor the 404-page.
Since a 404 error page is impossible to avoid at some point in time, it is best to prepare one using the 404 page best practices to optimize it for SEO and conversions.
But, these errors possess the potential to turn into something that can help you maximize the value of your brand.
By simply optimizing the 404 error page for SEO and conversions, you can impact your user experience positively. The tone of your error page should be well constructed with SEO, creativity, redirection and credibility to ensure that the user does not exit with a negative experience.
Search Engine Optimization is a great way to turn an error into an opportunity to make the user find what they are looking for. You can use your most searched keywords and relevant links to direct them to other pages for your website.
Optimization of 404 errors can offer you the opportunity to personalize it with your brand aesthetics and make it more engaging for the users than annoying. So, how exactly can it be done?
The user might have been looking for a product or service of yours in particular. Even after landing on the error page, it is possible to tap into that intention of buying despite an error.
Even if the user did not intend to land on the 404 error page, you could occupy their attention towards your best-performing products or services by displaying them there. Ensure that the best quality images and videos are used to capitalize on the situation and convert the annoyed visitor into a customer.
It is a no-brainer that your main website contains a search option to make navigation easier. A website containing endless pages can be a little overwhelming, but a direct search can make it quicker to reach the desired page.
The same logic applies to your 404 error page. If a user feels frustrated being there, providing an option to search for what they were looking for can keep their interest alive.
Reviews and feedback on your services or products can create good leverage to the user's attention. They can provide a space to market the value of your brand as people trust online reviews, and positive ones rightfully make them want to try the brand even more.
You can optimize your 404 error page by displaying how your brand is perceived. This can also directly impact your conversion rate by including those positive reviews and feedback.
If it is the first time someone is going to browse your website, a 404-page error can be a major turn-off. But, by playing your cards right, you may turn that user into a potential lead.
The perfect way to do so is by using a lead magnet. It is an incentive that you provide that can fetch you the user's contact details. Not everyone will buy the first time they visit your page, but you can still make it worthwhile by gathering their details for your lead database.Lead magnets do not have a specific format. They can be offered in various ways. You could provide an ebook, a free trial, etc, to attract the user's attention to fill in their details.
If you are lost, you'd need someone to guide you, right? The same is for the user on that 404-error page. If your website contains a lot of categories, you could provide a headstart to a few top categories on the error page to guide them to it.
And you can also explore beyond categories by including links to other pages available on your website like blogs, customer service, offers, etc.
The main aim is to help them navigate the error and land on a page that benefits your sales or brand's value.
The frustration of landing somewhere unwanted is justified. However, humor can be a great way to tackle it to keep the brand value intact.
You can customize your 404 error page with a humorous touch to entertain the user. So, at least when they exit from the website on a positive note. It will make them want to come back and give your brand a try again.
If a user lands on the error page, you can use their time to provide other relevant information about your brand. You can use this time to market your app and provide a link that directs them to download it.
The USP of your app is also a leverage point for your brand which can be displayed effectively on the 404-page. Display your app’s interface and how it is easier to use.
Sometimes a little inspiration can a long way and to give it a start, you should also check out how these following brands optimized their 404 error pages in the most creative way possible:
Amazon is a well known brand around the globe and so it is no doubt that they have easily managed to find a way to justify their errors. They use a cute and humorous approach by adding pictures of different breeds of dog creating a personal touch.
Another widely known brand, Ebay used to include redirection links on their error page using their brand aesthetics. The search bar also makes it more engaging by making it easier for the user to find what they are looking for.
Myntra went with the approach of adding an incentive on the side with a search bar in the middle to redirect the users attention and convert them into a potential buyer.
Yet another creative example of customizing a 404 page is shown by meditation brand, headspace. They have created a great visual using their brand’s aesthetics and adding a personal touch to engage the user.
These are just a few examples to show how optimization of your 404 Error Page for SEO & Conversions can be done. Feel free to experiment based on your target experience and the feedback you have received regarding your webpages.
You can try out these methods to remove 404 URLs from Google search:
Delete the content: If you delete the page and choose either 410 or 404 status code, as soon as the page is re-crawled, it will be deleted.
Noindex: Using this header response you can tell the search engines to delete the page from the index.
Restricting access: You can use some type of login system to make your 404 error page inaccessible to search engines.
URL removal tool: Using this tool, you can temporarily hide the 404 error page content.
The experience of your customers is majorly in your hands. Optimization of your 404 error page is just one of the ways you can market the credibility of your brand and promote its value in front of the customers.
From personalizing its content to making it more engaging, every little detail can offer the opportunity for growth and improvement. The best and easily manageable SEO tools available on our website can make it easier for you to create SEO friendly 404 pages.