How to Optimize 404 page?

Posted By: editor
Posted On: 24 Feb 2020

Is your website’s bounce rate way too high? Is it not a common observation that the visitors who are coming to your website are leaving without purchasing anything? Sometimes even the conversion rate of 1% is seen as an excellent achievement. It is for you to ensure to improve these numbers. The foremost thing in this process would be to improve your landing page, the page where the users are coming after clicking a link in the search results or your Advertisements, in order to reduce the bounce rate. Here, we will discuss the common reasons for your landing page to become non-existent and also the impact 404 pages have on your Ad spend and overall user journey. Know how to optimize 404 page for better customer retention.

Why Do 404 Pages Keep Popping Up?

The common reason for a page to become non-existent is when the website content has been removed or moved to another URL. There can be other reasons as follows:

  • The content such as files or images was either deleted or moved without adjusting any internal links accordingly. The same can happen with URLs.
  • The URL can be incorrect. During the creation process or a redesign, it can be written or linked incorrectly, or typed into the browser incorrectly.
  • The connection between the server and the website is broken or simply not running.
  • The requested domain name cannot be converted to an IP by the domain name system (DNS)
  • No existence of the typed Domain name.
  • Many website operators do not check their external links regularly and as a result, a functioning link can easily turn into a dead link. Dead links are those which are left for long periods of time since operators are oblivious to the fact that the linked content has been deleted or moved.

Why Top Websites Carefully Design and Utilize 404 pages?

A 404 page is a website page that informs the visitors that the particular page along with its contents is non-existent. It is the error page that the server displays when it does not find the URL requested by the visitor. If crafted creatively with a specific purpose of engaging the user, a 404 page can not only retain the visitors but make them hang around and check out what else is around your website. Utilize 404 pages to store cookie data for retargeting your customers or let them visit other pages in your website to keep them engaged with your brand


How to Track 404 Pages Using Google Analytics?

The sudden bouncing of several customers from a certain landing page will make the Brands investigate more into the problem. For this purpose, Google Analytics is to be used to identify the root cause. It can be done by different processes listed below:

  • Behaviour Reports – In your Google Analytics account, go to behaviour>site content> All Pages. Add “Page Title” as a secondary dimension and click the “Advanced” link next to the search field. Then choose the rule “Page title” contains “Page not found”.
  • Another way is by creating a user-defined variable in Google Tag Manager “Page Title”. Open your Google Tag Manager account, go to Triggers and create a trigger that fires when Page title contains “Page not found”. 
  • Finally, the most common approach is to create an event in Google Analytics named “404 Page”.


Impact of 404 pages on Ad Spend

It is a digital marketer’s nightmare but it does happen at times. You are running paid ad campaigns only to realize that some of the landing pages do not exist anymore. The traffic is getting attracted, clicking on your advertisement and just simply bouncing thereafter due to the lack of a landing page. There are situations in which system generated landing pages can suddenly cease to function due to a bug or an error. In such a case you would end up paying money for the ad campaigns on a CPC or CPM basis but your traffic will be rendered useless as the users will not end up converting in the first place, so the entire money on the advertisement campaign gets wasted. Such a situation would also negatively affect your company’s brand image, which affects the effectiveness of your ad campaign for the products with a proper landing page as well. Without a landing page and a well-designed 404 page, you lose out on collecting data in the form of cookies which would have otherwise helped you to retarget the audiences in the future thereby reducing future marketing budgets. 

Impact of 404 pages on User Journey and Sales

Considering a delightful tour of users in your engaging website, 404 pages will always be a hindrance to them. Hence the primary focus of a 404 page should be turning this intrusive user experience into a positive user journey. Foremost provide links for 404 pages as they will give users an exit out of the error page. Instead of bouncing from your site, the browsers might get a chance to come across potentially relevant information on another page. Money spent to reach potential clients should not be wasted but utilized by using 404 pages as a gateway to expand the business.

How to Optimize 404 page by getting regular Google Analytics Audit?

Landing pages are the most important pages in a website as it is here that users land after clicking on an advertisement link, the design of the landing page plays a crucial role in creating an impression of your brand and your product or service in the mind of the customer, thereby playing a huge role in their purchasing decision. A well-designed landing page can substantially increase your ROI from your online campaigns and the lack of one can do the opposite even more drastically. It is very important to identify the lack of a landing page especially when you have a big online marketing budget. And it is very difficult to identify as well, by the time you realize your landing page is just not there, you would have lost hundreds of dollars in ad spend. So it is important to prevent this, rather than patch up later. This is a complicated task if done manually through Google Analytics. 

The journey of a modern consumer on the internet is very complex, and there are various marketing channels involved at various stages before the consumer actually purchases from your website. Analyzing this journey and optimizing every step involved is what every brand strives for, as it reduces the overall marketing budget, thereby increasing ROI. Simplify this journey by getting periodic Google Analytics Auditing. Get your GA Audit done now.

Talk to us and let our team of data analysts perform an audit of your website, learn how to instantly identify and solve landing page issues. 

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