A 404 Is a Traffic Killer for Most Sites
You have a comprehensive site with dozens of landing pages, scores of main pages and category pages, and hundreds of weekly blog posts aimed at increasing traffic and SEO. The vast majority of all of this works flawlessly. The pages load correctly, the links work and traffic flows as it should. But, unknown to you, you also have a single page that generates a 404 error. The page cannot be found. And that page is likely costing you the majority of its traffic.
Many Users Leave and Forget Your Site
You may assume that, with most of the site working perfectly, a lot of users would just switch to another page or attempt some way to fix the issue. Unfortunately, the largest percentage of users in one study said they would just hit the back button and forget it. That largest group was comprised of nearly 37% of those who were asked. If that page was acting as a landing page, those users may never find your site again.
Other options in the poll included trying to find the page that was missing by first navigating to a functional page, like the homepage (just over 20%) and writing to the webmaster about the error (under 3%). You may have slightly more success if the broken page was not a landing page, as clicking the back button may just take them to another part of your site, but some of those users may still give up, having never found the specific information they were looking for.
Why are things this dire when looking at 404 errors? The trouble is competition. Your site has an incredible amount of it at all times. Users know they can pick from scores of options to seek what they want. It’s not worth their time to try to figure out what went wrong or to tell you about it. They’ll just move right on to the competition and make their purchase from a different company. These broken pages can also harm your reputation as a company, so potential customers may never return — even if your products and services are actually top-notch.
Everything Must Be Perfect
This is just one way that you can see why it’s so important to seek perfection in site design, linking practices, site content and much more. Even something you may consider a small flaw can be detrimental. We understand this very well here at Content Customs, and we would be happy to help you with all elements of your site. Just give us a call or send us an email today!