The “404 Page Not Found” error can be a real problem for a site and their search engine optimization programs. This can cause many problems particularly if the page in question was ranking well in the past.
There are many reasons for this error to occur including:
- Page Deleted
- Page Renamed with a new URL
- Page moved to a different location/directory
- Moving Site to a new provider
When faced with this problem there are several options that can be undertaken to reduce the possibility of an issue. The main solution involves using redirects although if you have simply removed the page, then a request to Google to remove the page can be made. Without the request Google and other search engines will eventually drop the page for consistent 404 Page Not Found errors.
For pages that moved or changed URL’s, a simple redirect can take care of the problem. Over time the search engines will replace the old URL with the new one. The most common redirect used in SEO is the 301 Permanent Redirect.
If you are moving a complete site, there are small software programs that can through and quickly redirect all broken links to a better page with more relevance. You can also use your META tags to prevent Google from following any links within a particular page.
This can result in the missing page being removed. It does however take time for pages to get deleted and for the new pages to be indexed. However, if you just leave the pages with links to non-existent sites, the Page Not Found error could cause more harm than good.