April 4 is 404 Day. The meaning is a little different in Atlanta, but for most of the world, it’s time to poke fun of those errors we get in our browsers. If you own a website, 404 Page Not Found is inevitable, but you need to make sure you minimize these errors. On one hand, it’s not good for your visitors and search engines to see 404 errors. And on the other hand, 404s can also be an indication of attacks on your site.
404 Day: All in Good Fun!
Someone, somewhere is going to hit a bad link. And one of the coolest things about 404 Day is looking at the many creative 404 pages that site designers build. If you haven’t already, you should consider a nicely customized 404 page. At the very least, give your wayward visitors a link back to the home page. And definitely consider adding a search box, so they can actually find what they’re looking for!
Bad Links are Bad
Make sure you are tracking 404 errors on your site, so you can correct any bad internal links. You should also periodically check for crawl errors from search engine bots. If your trackbacks and external links are off, you may wish to contact the other site to have their links to your site corrected. Either way, make sure you set up redirects to send visitors to the correct pages.
4+0+4 = Cyberattacks
While external link errors and genuine typos will generate 404 errors, there are also a number of exploits that generate 404 errors. With the inevitability of attacks, it’s almost a certainty that someone up to no good is going to find any vulnerable pages.
So please make sure you monitor your site 404 errors, for the sake of site security and to give your visitors (and search engines) a pleasant visit to your website!
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