Broken Links, Error 404 Handling and Permanent 301 Redirects
As pages are added and removed from a site, it’s easy for links on other pages of the site to become broken. And if you have banner ads or CPC campaigns running, you want to make sure that your inbound links go to the proper destinations. The best way to ensure that you don’t have broken links on the site is to make sure that your link structure doesn’t change. Content management systems can usually help prevent this from happening. The worst thing for an end user to see is a blank error page:
Error 404 Handling makes sure that when someone goes to a broken link on your site, they are directed to a special error page. This error page might say, “We’re sorry, The page you requested cannot be found. But please check here instead.” You can also redirect users to the home page of your site (this is what we do for Customer Paradigm).
If you do need to rename or remove a page from the site, using Permanent 301 Redirects will help a person get to the right page — especially if another website has one or more of your pages linked. Without getting into the technical details, a 301 redirect tells someone that the page they were looking for has been permanently moved to a different location, and the person is redirected there automatically. If you don’t use 301 redirects, you can rely on error 404 handling to redirect a user to the special error page or your home page.
But in this case, you then are relying on your visitor to use your navigation to find their way to their location. How do you know if you have broken links on your site, or if you need error 404 handling or to install permanent 301 redirects? There are many automated systems available, and we can often ask Google to display a list of broken links or missing pages that will serve as the starting point for fixing your site.
If you are interested in receiving a FREE diagnostic of your site please go here. A diagnostic will help show any errors that your website is experiencing such as missing title tags, missing meta descriptions, 400 errors, 500 errors and more errors all of which will affect your SEO value and website ranking.