404 page

When a searcher follows a nonexistent URL, a 404 page appears. This can happen for a variety of reasons. In this article, we tell you what these reasons are and how they impact SEO.

What is a 404 page?

A 404 page is the page that appears the moment a reference is inimitable. It could be that the page in question no longer exists or that there is an incorrect link in play.

When does a 404 page occur

The first cause of a 404 page is that when you delete a page, it has been removed from the site. However, there are often still links that redirect to the relevant page. If you click a link to that page, the 404 page appears.

A second cause is changing the URL of a page, for example, because the title has been changed.

404 page | Glossary

How do I avoid a 404 page?

We give a brief explanation of how to avoid a 404 page. It is important to set up a redirect (an automatic link). There are two types.

  1. 301 redirect

When it comes to permanently removing a page, set up a 301 redirect. The 301 redirect includes a permanent redirect. The visitor is redirected to a new page. In addition, the SEO value of the original page is passed on to the new link. With a 301, you are letting Google know that this is the new destination page.

  1. 302 redirect

A 302 redirect is a temporary redirect. With a 302 redirect, the SEO value of the original link disappears. The value of the link is not transmitted and may therefore disappear as a result.

The impact of a 404 page on SEO

In theory, 404 pages have an impact on a website’s ranking in Google. This does involve one page. If a page generates a 404 code, it means it does not exist. Therefore, Google does not include it during indexing.

404 pages are functional and are a normal part of the Internet. In theory, 404 pages have an impact on rankings, just not on the ranking of the website as a whole.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a 404 page?

If a reference is not trackable then you get a 404 page. If you get a 404 page, it could mean you have an incorrect link. If a 404 page appears after you type a site into your browser, it is possible that the site no longer exists.

What is the impact of 404 Page on SEO?

404 notifications only impact a website’s ranking in google. It is then only a single page. If the 404 code is generated then it means that the page no longer exists. A 404 page is a normal part of the Internet and is functional.

Senior SEO-specialist

Ralf van Veen

Senior SEO-specialist
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I have been working for 10 years as an independent SEO specialist for companies (in the Netherlands and abroad) that want to rank higher in Google in a sustainable manner. During this period I have consulted A-brands, set up large-scale international SEO campaigns and coached global development teams in the field of search engine optimization.

With this broad experience within SEO, I have developed the SEO course and helped hundreds of companies with improved findability in Google in a sustainable and transparent way. For this you can consult my portfolio, references and collaborations.

This article was originally published on 15 September 2023. The last update of this article was on 10 January 2024. The content of this page was written and approved by Ralf van Veen. Learn more about the creation of my articles in my editorial guidelines.