This week, we discuss the importance of URL redirecting to encourage positive search rankings.
For this post, we are solely looking at the value 404 redirects alone. We are not weighing in other factors regarding search authority such as page timing, bounce rates, keyword optimization, etc..
There are many critical aspects in establishing a strong online presence but URL redirecting can be a key contributor for a healthy web presence. Here’s why:
URL redirecting is the process of linking (or redirecting) old URLs (web browser addresses) to the updated, new URLs. This process eliminates a broken link that would otherwise result in the dreaded 404 Error Page Not Found. A successful example is when a user enters DeCort’s old website address, www.decortinteractive.com, into the browser and is automatically routed to our new website at www.decort.net.
Why 404s Tank Your Search Rankings
Google prefers sites that are credible resources. If your site contains many broken links, it can limit your search rankings. It’s a bit like asking someone for driving directions when your cell phone and/or GPS isn’t available. it makes for a poor experience if you get lost as a result of another’s inability to communicate, and you will probably not be inclined to ask that person for directions again. The same principle applies with redirects. Clear directions (a successful redirect) need to be provided when the user stumbles onto a wrong path (non-existent URL). This will create a positive experience for the user and can contribute positively to your search rankings. If your site has numerous broken links and cannot be trusted by Google, your rankings may suffer as a result. Conversely, your site’s rankings can be easily repaired by properly redirecting any broken links.
However, it can be quite a process to manage all of your site’s redirects, and even the best sites will still end up with a 404 Error Page Not Found at times.
Best Practice to Reduce and Eliminate 404 Errors
The best way to reduce and eliminate 404 errors is through regular monitoring. The more URL links that end up changing, such as discontinuation of a product line, the more actively engaged your development team needs to be. Here at DeCort, we offer customized monitoring and redirecting solutions that are scaled to our clients’ needs. As a result, we are better able to manage and grow our clients’ web presence.
In addition to this, there is a potential opportunity to capture new users by creating a customized 404 page that provides internal links to your site. Websites that do not have a customized error page run the risk of losing potential users and clients who bounce off the page because they could not find what they were looking for.
404 error pages can get pretty clever. Check out this fun list for inspiration and a good laugh.