Friday, August 29, 2008

Custom 404 Error Page for SEO Purposes

I am tired of getting the generic, non-informative 404 error pages. Then I realized that anyone on my website would see the same thing, so I had to change it! I found a couple of great websites that gave me a lot of information. Does it really help you if you get to the top of the search engines but your website isn't user-friendly? No users means no sales means no money.

Back in March 2007, Bruce Clay, Inc. wrote on their blog about the importance of custom 404 error pages and seo:
  • Your custom error page should contain the following ingredients:
    • An apology for the error
    • A prominent search box
    • A link to your site map
    • A link to your home page
    • Links to the other main areas of your site
Jeff Atwood points out something that I didn’t know:
  • He says to make sure your customized 404 page is larger than 512 bytes or
  • some browsers will assume it’s the standard Web server 404 message and
  • replace it with their own
Google Webmaster Tools is now offering a great new service with a free custom 404 error page widget.
  • Automatically provides users with helpful suggestions
  • It adds a search box for your site with appropriate search suggestions
  • It tries to provide alternatives to incorrect URLs

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