Generally, the 404 page is used to tell users that the page they want to open does not exist. User gets this page if they land on any old removed pages or clicked on any broken links or typed any wrong spelling.
What happens if the 404 page is not used?
This will lead User to exit and bounce from that page (100% bounce rate)
Why websites have 404 errors?
1). The common reason is that a single website might have millions of pages so it become impossible for them to fix all 404 errors.
2). Another important reason may be that the websites had been running from many years and have lots of backlinks on external websites and are not able to manage the broken links that’s why they end up not being able to stop these 404 visits.
3). lastly, most of the website owners don’t remove broken links from the website on a time to time basis.
Tip #1. Remove Broken Links
This is the first step to optimize 404 errors. Remove all broken links from the website. You can find these broken links by using broken link checker tool and Google webmaster tool.
Tip #2. Use Site Search
After landing on 404-page user may get irritated and bounce from there, so Site search can help these users to find what they want. This technique can help users in reducing drop offs.
Tip #3. Home Page link is a good idea
The home page link keeps the good navigation going and makes the page full of information about the site, so home page link is a better idea to rescue users from a 404 page.
Tip #4. Put here something creative
People get irritated here but to make them happy and put a smile on user’s face, Create a beautiful design for 404 page. You can put here something creative for branding and emotional touch like video game, emotional pictures, motivational pictures etc.
Tip #5. Analyze data from Google Analytics
First you should put a unique Meta title in 404 page. And check it in Google analytics about how many visits come from that page, after this data you can understand the real value of your 404 page. If you are getting huge traffic from this page, then you should work for 404-page optimization.
Tip #6. Put here important links
Put here top categories, top links, top products etc.
Tip #7. Put here Contact information
Put here Phone number, contact support links, Email id and contact us page link to help users.
Tip #8. Use Buttons on 404 page
Attractive buttons on 404 page can increase clicks. In the example buzz feed is using Home Page button instead a simple text link.
Tip #9. 404 page redirecting on home page is not always good
It is not relevant for all types of pages. Mostly eCommerce websites redirect Expire products or 404 page on home page. By the way Google treat those pages soft 404 and Google suggest don’t do this.
Tip #10. Send to real pages when Small spelling mistake
check these links
This is a real link –
These are wrong links –
Both are redirecting to real page when the user types a wrong url by mistake so, you can redirect them to real page.
Tip #11. Make 404 page different for different section
Suppose you have two sections in your website first is /services/ and second is /blog/ so you can make two different 404 page for both sections. Show relevant services links or search in /services/ section and show relevant blog links or search in /blog/ section. It can make your 404 page more relevant and more user friendly.