“ERROR 404: PAGE NOT FOUND.” Is it bad for SEO? It’s pretty simple; If the user has a positive experience your site will become popular and your rankings will increase.
Incoming links play an important role in ranking well on Google and other Search Engines. Therefore, you should assure that every incoming link leads to one of your pages on your blog and not to a “ERROR 404: PAGE NOT FOUND.”.
The most common reason for a “ERROR 404: PAGE NOT FOUND.” is we created a post or a page and then later we either changed the URL, deleted it or put in on draft. Simply put, the page is not there any longer. One or more of these occur pretty often and many sites encounter these errors.
Then, during the time that page was live, we may have (or anyone) submitted that post or page to a Social Media site, bookmarking site or somehow created a link to that page where anyone can stumble upon that link, click it and then whammo, they get a “ERROR 404: PAGE NOT FOUND.”. Chances are they will go no further and return to whence they came.
The worst case scenario is if that post or page got indexed by Google. Someone finds that link on a search and then clicks it and they get a “ERROR 404: PAGE NOT FOUND.”
There are many times that one of my posts get out dated and it is easier to delete that particular page. Problem is, if I created any SEO juice, Social Media juice or had that post in any way leave a footprint with a backlink to that post, when people click it, they get a “ERROR 404: PAGE NOT FOUND.”
How to Fix “ERROR 404: PAGE NOT FOUND” on WordPress
There are several tutorials that will show you how to find your 404 Errors and how to fix them using Google Webmaster Tools, however, there are plugins that allow a much simpler fix for WordPress users.
Here are 3, choose one that best fits your needs! (Thanks to Gregg Housh, “The Website Makeover Guy” for the first two suggestions that he recommends over the 3rd.)
WordPress Plugins to Fix “Error 404 Page Not Found”
1) Install the 404 Redirected Plugin: 404 Redirected allows WordPress admins to have control over their dead links and redirects from inside the admin panel. 404 Redirected records all URLs that users have visited and allows the admin to easily create 301 and 302 redirects to valid pages on their site. Redirects can also be created based on the best possible match for the URL the visitor was most likely trying to reach.
You can get more information on the 404 Redirected Plugin for WordPress and download it from HERE.
2) Install the 404-to-start Plugin: Send 404 page not found error directly to start page (or any other page/site) to overcome problems with search engines. With optional email alert.
You can get more information on the 404-to-start Plugin for WordPress and download it from HERE.
3) Install the Link Juice Keeper Plugin! This plugin helps you to keep the link juice by redirecting all non-existing URLs which normally return a 404 error to the front blog page using 301 redirect.
All that means is instead of the viewer getting the “ERROR 404: PAGE NOT FOUND.”, they will be automatically re-directed to the homepage of your site, keeping the juice!
You can get more information on the Link Juice Plugin for WordPress and download it from HERE.