Error 404 Pages and how to manage them
W.E.B.S Ltd
Based on 27 reviews
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Phoenix Aromas
Phoenix Aromas
16:23 12 May 22
Knowledgable team who created a custom theme for our WordPress website and built a custom product database for us to manage technical products. Easy to work with and efficient in their workflow. Would more
Gary Hughes
Gary Hughes
15:21 21 Dec 21
Our company have used W.E.B.S Ltd for many years and found the quality of the work to be very good, we have recently had them develop an app for our engineering department and they have walked us through the app very professinally and been extremely responsive when we have required more
Star Eastern
Star Eastern
10:44 28 Mar 20
I have worked with Justin for long period.To work with him is very easy and he always provide you the GREAT services.Recommend him A+++++++++++++read more
Elliott Callahan
Elliott Callahan
15:02 27 Sep 19
Excellent service from a very knowledgeable provider. WEBS has helped me immensely with my business website, social media presence as well as a whole host of other areas. Could not recommend anyone else for your business. Always there to answer any issues you may have and is super helpful in advising you on the best methods to boost your business’ online appearance. 5 Stars!read more
Pete Brown
Pete Brown
09:17 14 Jun 19
I have had my current website for a number of years thinking it was okay but when Justin designed me a new one I couldn’t believe the difference.It is very unique and i have had lots of feedback from friends and customers as to the positive change.He is patient, adaptive to change and very skilled in his profession.I believe my business will benefit solely from this change in Website.I wouldn’t hesitate to more
Hazel Bate
Hazel Bate
13:14 21 Dec 18
The website Justin wrote for me looks really impressive and I’m getting great positive feedback from others looking at it. I’m sure it will help my business with moving forward. Justin was very quick at doing any work requested, even when he had other commitments, with patient professionalism and efficiency. I thought his development costs were very fair too. His support of my old website was always reliable and good advice given. Thank you Justinread more
Patrick Marston
Patrick Marston
07:35 07 Sep 18
I’ve always found W.E.B.S Ltd to be highly skilled website designers, developers and marketing specialists that are incredibly helpful with any technical issues I’ve had, replying speedily with a solution. W.E.B.S Ltd also communicate relatively complex tasks into easy-to-understand terms that allows you to maintain your own website too, which is very useful. I can’t recommend these guys more
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What is a 404 Error?

When a user clicks a link, which points to a page or post which no longer exists, a 404 error will occur. It is an important aspect of website maintenance, to monitor and fix identified 404 errors regularly. This will avoid a negative user experience on your site and possibly reduced visibility in the search engines.

Checking for broken links (404)

All website owners should be running Google Analytics and Google Search Console (previously Webmaster Tools). Search Console tools and reports help you measure your site’s Search traffic and performance, fix issues and make your site shine in Google Search results.

Assuming, you have set up Google Search Console, login and click on the ‘Coverage’ page. This will highlight any broken links on your website. Once you know which pages are broken, you can set about fixing them.

Exporting data from Google Search Console

Using Google Search Console, it’s really handy to be able to bulk export, especially if you have several links to fix. This can happen if you have neglected to maintain your site, or have just released a new site and failed to redirect the old links.

Once you have the data downloaded, it’s easy to see and map old URL’s to new ones. This data can then be imported into various plugins (like Redirection Plugin for WordPress for example) which will then instantly start redirecting broken links to new pages.

Once the problem is fixed, you can tell Google Search Console the broken link has been fixed and it will update your website reports and hopefully give it a clean bill of health.

Manually fixing broken links

There are numerous plugins which can be used to monitor and fix broken links on your website. The redirection plugin for WordPress highlights all broken links and allows you to manually fix them one by one, or import a list of updated URL’s in bulk.

Basically, anyone visiting will be redirected to whatever new page you define, e.g Fixing this improves the user experience (UX) and tells the search engines, your website is healthy and operating normally.

Measuring 404 page activity

The redirections plugin for WordPress will not only allow you to fix links, but it will tell you how many times the link is accessed. It’s useful to know, as you can work out how much activity occurs on the old link and whether it’s worth your time digging deeper to fix the problem properly. Let me explain a bit more.

Fixing the source of the link

Let’s assume, I have a page on my site called and I have linked to this on 10 separate pages within my website. In addition, there are numerous external links pointing to this page, from external websites which I do not manage.

If I rename my permalink / URL to be the following must be considered:

  1. The original link website-factors-2018 will be broken, so a redirect to website-factors-2019 is needed
  2. Each of the 10 pages still have links to website-factors-2018 (which is why activity can still occur on the link)
  3. External websites link to website-factors-2018 which will redirect to website-factors-2019 but ideally, these links should be updated if possible

Monitoring activity, allows us to see how much traffic the original page continues to get. If it’s 0 over a few months, this is great however, in most cases, we see lots of traffic can come into the original page and users are redirected to the new one. If only 1 x redirect occurs, it isn’t such an issue, but if the page changes again, we can end up with too many redirects.

If next year, we change website-factors-2019 to website-factors-2020 and so on, you can see the issue.

  1. website-factors-2018 redirects to website-factors-2019
  2. website-factors-2019 redirects to website-factors-2020
  3. etc etc etc

Name permalinks well and avoid too many redirects

To fix the issue above, consider changing the year within the page name and keep it the same for future years. This will avoid you needing to make regular changes. Instead, use page headings, page text and meta content to inform users about dates.

Fix this by going back over the first page e.g website-factors-2018 and finding ALL pages which have a link to it. Change them! Replace any links with the new, well thought out permalink URL you have chosen.

NEW URL: website-factors *no date used, nice and generic, short and needs no regular change


This is just an example of how a broken link might occur and how multiple redirects can cause an issue. It is important to fix redirects but also keep an eye on how much traffic the original link gets, even if you have a redirect in place.

If you see lots of incoming traffic to the original URL, consider doing a search and replace on your internal content and update all links to use the correct version. This removes multiple redirects and means users are sent directly to the correct page, without one or more redirects. That is a much better situation, so do not rely on redirects to fix everything. They solve a problem temporarily, giving you time to fix all the links throughout your website. The ones you can’t access or get changed, use the redirection as a last resort.

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