From 404 to WOW: Edmonton Internet Marketing Firms and Error Pages

Sorry, the page you’re looking for doesn’t exist. But hey, so do unicorns, wizards, dragons, Easter bunnies, leprechauns, and Bigfoot riding a hover skateboard and wielding a lightsaber.

This is the error page of College Humor, staying true to its nature as a comedy website. It, along with a handful of websites, found some use for the popular Error 404 by putting their own twist to it. Nobody likes a 404, but it doesn’t mean you can’t do something to make it more interesting. In fact, SEO expert Brad Miller says that a 404 is sometimes better than a 301.

“Many SEO professionals and website owners will use a 301 redirect to take visitors to the site homepage rather than showing them a 404 error page. Though this is the safest option in terms of retaining the strength of your incoming links, it isn’t always best from a user’s perspective.

If you have a page on your website that receives a big number of high authority, relevant links, and you’ve decided to get rid of that page for some reason, then you probably should use the 301 to redirect the search engines and users to an alternative page (not necessarily the homepage). Assuming an alternative page exists.”

Think about it: “How will visitors react to a specific link that suddenly brings them to the Home page?” A 404 is a great way of notifying visitors about the real problem. A 301 simply masks it.

404 page best practices

Getting creative with this common internet error can be helpful in Edmonton internet marketing. Provided that the page is consistent with your website (i.e. your brand logo on the 404 page), it lets visitors know that they’re still on your site. Coupled with a robots.txt file, which prevents any crawling, a 404 page won’t affect your search engine rankings.

How you’ll pull this off is limited only by your imagination. Static designs are the most common 404 pages, but you can include basic functions like search bars or on-page links. Some websites designed a simple working game like Pac-Man or Space Invaders as a 404. As far as marketing goes, however, you may want your 404 to instill a call to action.

To do this, you can provide buttons that link to your business’s products and services. A lead form is also a viable option.

Nevertheless, don’t forget the basics of a 404 page: it must explain why the link generated a 404. Miller says a 404 is unavoidable because human error (i.e. wrong syntax, dead link) is a variable. If you want to get started on making your 404 worthy of praise, have Edmonton search engine optimization services like SMRT Marketing help out.

(Source: “404 Page Best Practices,” Search Engine Watch, September 11, 2013)