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Managing 404 Errors - (Page) Not Found

When a page cannot be found on your website, generally following a search or click through from a 3rd party website URL where the link itself may be out of date or has changed, an error known as a '404 Not Found' can occur.  404s are a slight nuisance and can occur through the natural course and progression of managing your content, changing menu items and so on.  The result for the website visitor is that they may lose interest and seek their information elsewhere.

Some popular website content management systems, such as Joomla and WordPress, can be extended to include technologies that result in a 'soft 404', where they present a page normally and within the branded template of your website informing the website visitor that the page cannot be found and, perhaps, diverting them to another page or pages with content similar to the information they were looking for.  Naturally, soft 404s are better than 'hard' 404s, however it still means that your search engine website content indexing is out of date or that there are links out there somewhere that are pointing to your website content incorrecty.  How to solve this problem?

One of the excellent solutions provided for the Joomla CMS to manage 404s is an extension called sh404. Amongst some other SEO and security-related functions, sh404 provides an excellent interface that can report on website links (URLs) that have been incorrectly presented to the website visitor and, for subsequent visitors, options for redirecting that URL to some other menu/page of content within the website.

The strategy we recommend for our clients using the Joomla CMS and sh404, which we include as a default extension for all website projects is, therefore, to check their 404 Requests Manage in sh404 at least once per week in order to identify any links and to ensure they are pointed to related content or at least to the home page if this has not already been set-up as a default.

If you would like to discuss your 404 concerns or anything else in relation to your website, please contact us on (08) 9248 1867.

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