The 404 error signifies that a web server had made a lookup on a url (Uniform Resource Locator) that doesn’t exist in the server root file tree. The 404 error is a default diagnostic page transmitted back to the web browser when that happens. Sometimes you will get a blank generic page, others you will get a more detailed error page. They can be quite annoying to end up on a 404 page.
We utilize a plugin called 404 – 301 SEO for wordpress. This automatically takes the 404 traffic and redirects the error page to a working page. Thus, we do not lose out on any traffic.
Many times, the 404 error is triggered by a typographical error in the url, such as: http://nptmarketing.com/404 when http://nptmarketing.com/dont-lose-out-on-your-404-traffic is the intended url and assuming that the page 404error exists in the root directory of the domain http://nptmarketing.com As you can see there, we use a plugin to do all the dirty and behind the scenes work for us.
A server gets 404 error traffic on a pretty consistent basis because of two reasons. 1) either the url is msstyped; or 2) the file the url points to has been removed from the server. 404 error traffic will always be generated as long as a web browser sends erroneous urls to the web server.
So, how can the user benefit from this? First of all, it is important to check a url for typographical errors. This will fix some problems. Server logs are available to the server administrator which shows all error conditions that were detected. Which shows the url that was attempted and when it happened. Sometimes, a web designer means to publish a working url but somehow the url is invalid at the destination. Whenever the url points to an external link, the web server page file where the link is published is not the server that will respond to the error. So for example if we have a url, say, https://www.microsoft.com/indexyz.html published on example.com, and named links.html, then the web server issuing the error (if indexyz.html doesn’t exist) will be the web server serving www.microsoft.com content, and will therefore not involve the server serving example.com content.
Is it possible to profit from 404 traffic?
Yes, certainly it is. A server administrator can customize all error pages by configuring the server to handle 404 traffic, not to mention all other error codes with more informative content than the noted standard vanilla error page issued by the server. What happens when a internet user receives a 404 error? They most likely hit the dreaded X at the top right of the screen and you never see them again.