What triggers this issue?
This issue reports all internal page URLs that returned the 404 (Not found) HTTP response code to our crawler.
Why is it important?
There are several things to consider here.
- Internal links to 404 pages (also known as "broken links") contribute to the poor user experience. People landing on a dead page as they click through the link on your website can leave your website immediately.
- 404 URLs with a decent number of external backlinks are wasting the "link juice" for your website.
- A large number of 404 URLs on your website can waste the "crawl budget" for your website as the search engine crawlers will be attempting to access the non-existing pages via their internal and external backlinks.
How to fix it?
Generally, it is normal to have 404 pages on your website. Pages are removed and deleted on almost any active site. However, fixing the "404 page" errors on your site is not hard and will help your website on a large scale.
1. Open the list of 404 pages on your website in Ahrefs Site Audit
2. Click on the number in the "No. of inlinks" column to get a list of pages that link to the 404 page.
3. Remove the link to the dead page or replace it with another relevant link to a live 200 page on each linking page.
Additionally, you can set the appropriate 301 redirects on the 404 pages. It is especially important for the URLs with a decent number of external backlinks. You can set the 301 redirect from the dead page to another relevant page on your website. If you don't have a better place for the redirection, you should leave the 404 page as it is.
To see the number of backlinks for the reported 404 pages, you can add the "No. of backlinks" column in the Data Explorer table.
Plug the 404 URL into Ahrefs' Site Explorer for the backlink report.
1. It is generally recommended to use the 410 (Gone) response code for the deleted pages, rather than the 404 code.
2. To redirect the 404 pages, use the 301 (Moved Permanently) redirection, not the 302 (Moved Temporarily).
3. Create custom informative branded 404 page on your website. Make sure this page returns the 404 response code, not 200 (soft 404 error).