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How to use the 404 monitor SEO module

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404 Error Pages for WordPress SEO Pack plugins

Q: What is the 404 monitor?
A: This module logs attempts by spiders or people to access something on your website which does not exist. Usually what they’re trying to access has been moved or never existed in the first place.  When a page is requested from your site which doesn’t exist, the user sees a page called a 404 error page.

Q: What should I do with the logged events which show up there?
A: That depends on the site you’re running.  Here are some ideas for utilizing traffic which ends up in a 404 error:

  1. Redirect back to the login page if your site has a membership component.
  2. Insert advertisements which are on other pages and then redirect to those pages, increasing views on your ads (maybe not ethical?)
  3. Display a creative picture for your visitors which provides backlinks to your site and a search box.  To see examples of 404 art, click here.
  4. Redirect traffic using keywords in the URL.
  5. Simply redirect traffic to the homepage or a page of your choosing.
  6. Leave the 404 page alone…if you don’t receive alot of 404 errors or the 404 errors logged look like they’re all spider-related maybe you just want to ignore them for now.

There are more possibilities than listed above, but that should get you started.

Q: How do I redirect traffic?
A: There are many good plugins for that. Maybe your site recently changed permalink structure and you want to capture existing incoming links (use Permalinks Moved Permanently).  Maybe you only have a handful of 404s to redirect (you can use the Redirector Plugin).  Smart 404 plugin searches your site’s content for keywords matching the search string that resulted in a 404 and redirects automatically.  Whichever you select, make sure that the plugin you select is still being actively developed and has been tested with your version of WordPress.

Q: How do I create a (custom) 404 error page?
A: There are many good guides for doing this.  One is in an article by Bima Arafah in which he explores 404s extensively and provides code examples.

By now you should know what the 404 monitor is for and have an idea of how you will leverage the bad links which it shows you.  Now go out there and redirect something!

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