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    Error 404 (not found) is a standard HTTP response code that indicates that a web page was not found. The page in question may have been deleted, moved or never existed on the server.

    Error 404 - what is it?

    Reasons for 404 error

    Sometimes a site may be temporarily unavailable due to the deletion of specific pages, moderation in the content management system or temporary memory files. In addition to these, there are many other reasons that should be checked.

    The given URL has been deleted or moved

    If a website resource has been moved to another URL or deleted (such as deleting a product from the store) without changing the URLs to the new address, then a 404 (not found) error will appear.

    Invalid URL

    While typing the web address, a typo may happen to us, so a 404 (server not found) error will be displayed – the server does not find the requested file).

    Indexation problems

    Sometimes it may be that a site exists, but due to search engine indexation problems, it is not accessible directly through a given URL. Then the site displays a 404 error code.

    Page error 404 (page not found) – examples

    Error 404 - example
    Error 404 not found - example

    How to fix error 404?

    Have you accidentally encountered a 404 error while browsing subpages within your site or found it in Google search results? First, refresh the page (perhaps it’s just temporarily unavailable). If just refreshing the page didn’t help then:

    • Check the URL – Make sure the page address is correct. Sometimes a typo can lead to a 404 error.
    • Find lost pages – If you have a page that previously worked but now gets a 404 error, it may have been moved or deleted. Check it out!
    • Redirect if necessary – If the site has been moved, set up a redirect (called a 301 redirect) so that people automatically go to the new site address.
    • Correct links on the site – Make sure all links on your site lead to working pages. If any link leads to a 404 error, fix it!
    • Create a friendly 404 error page – If someone hits a 404 error, show them a page that helps them find their way to other parts of your site.
    • Place links on other sites – If other sites have bad links to your site, ask them to fix them if possible.
    • Check regularly – Use tools such as Google Search Console to regularly check for 404 errors on your site.
    • Scan your computer for malware – sometimes the reason for a 404 error code is a virus on your device.
    • Check if you have access to resources. If a 404 error pops up, it indicates that you do not have permission to access a particular site. And the cause is inconsistencies with CHMOD permissions. Therefore, adjust the permissions through the FTP panel.

    How does a 404 error code affect SEO?

    1. User Experience

    A 404 error discourages users, leading to frustration and a negative website experience. Search engines, such as Google, place great emphasis on the quality of the user experience, so frequent 404 errors can lower a site’s ranking.

    2. Link Building

    A 404 error can affect the value of internal and external links. If other sites link to a URL that leads to a 404 error, the value of those links can be lost. Links are a key element of SEO, so losing important links can affect a site’s visibility in search results.

    3 Page Indexing

    A 404 error can affect the process by which search engine robots index a page. Robots may spend resources trying to access non-existent pages, which can slow down the indexing process of other existing pages. This can lead to a delay in new content appearing in search results.

    4. Analysis and Metrics

    404 errors can affect site data analysis, leading to inaccuracies in interpreting user behavior and the effectiveness of various site elements. Inaccurate data can lead to suboptimal SEO decisions.

    5. Credibility and professionalism

    Frequent 404 errors can affect the perception of a site’s professionalism. A site that leads users to dead ends can lose trust and appear less credible.

    6. Mobile SEO

    As more and more people use mobile devices to browse the Internet, 404 errors on the mobile version of a website can also negatively affect the ranking in mobile search results.

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    Kamila Dębska
    Kamila Dębska