oh the 404

Virginia State Route 404
Image via Wikipedia

There has been a thread rolling around the company I work for yesterday about how we need to roll some custom 404’s (404 is the page which is displayed when a web server cannot find the page you requested) for an upcoming website launch.  It makes me laugh – because I know that’s a great idea, but many times we simply forget about it…or just keep bumping off the todo list.

As I went through my link farm (corner of my desktop when I drag all the links I don’t take the time to read when I find them) this morning I found one for a post called “Find And Fix Your Inbound 404s

Our SEO/marketing guru (Sarah) was making this point that the post suggests too:

Inbound links drive traffic and rankings. Inbound links are precious. Allowing inbound links to fail on nonexistent pages is a marketing crime.

Which is very important – but the post goes on to say:

Once you’ve found your inbound broken links, you can contact the site linking to you to fix them. Smarter: handle it on your side, routing the traffic where you want to send it by (re)creating the appropriate page. Smarter still: issue a 301 permanently moved redirect and flip the traffic to where it should go.

Which I had never thought of…and it very brilliant.  I think we never are as aggressive as we should be when it comes to proactivitely addressing these concerns.  As the web gets older – more and more of those old links will be irrelevant.  The same, or better, content might exist – but we’re too dumb and/or lazy to get people to it.

OK – enough bitching, got to go fix some links!  If you have other helpful articles or post…put them in the comments.

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