How broken links and 404's affect my web site.
What is a 404 HTTP error?
A 404 HTTP error is a the error code your browser returns when you follow a link to a page that doesn't exist (or that you've miss-spelled).
You'll find broken links over the web. And, to be honest, they're not that big of a deal because
a) they're simple to fix once caught
b) Google stance is that broken links don't affect your web page's organic ranking.
However, just because they're not hurting your ranking doesn't mean you shouldn't fix them. People who browse your site who recieve multiple 404 errors will typically leave your site frustrated.
What if I'm deleting a web page on my site, or I want to rename it?
The solution's very easy. If you've renamed a page's URL (e.g., the name up top from www://rawmedia.ca/example1.html/ to www://rawmedia.ca/new-example1.html/, you can do a 301 redirect. That way, when the user types in the old URL, your site will automatically reroute them to the new URL. If you're forever getting rid of that content, you would have your site intentioally return a 410 error, which is a browsers way of saying GONE vs a 404's NOT FOUND.
Do I need to repair EVERY 404 my webmaster search console returns?
Is there anything I can do to make the user experience better?
Absoloutly. You have two options.
1) Create a custom 404 page that returns something more useful that CONTENT NOT FOUND
2) Add some code to your web site that redirects all content that doesn't exist to your homepage.
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