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    Redirect better than custom 404 page?


    Currently I have a nice custom made 404 page visitors will end up on if the url they tried to reach doesn't exist.

    However, I was just thinking, isn't it much better for your Google ranking to automatically (301) redirect all those non-existing urls to your homepage?
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    Originally Posted by MrMiguel
    However, I was just thinking, isn't it much better for your Google ranking to automatically (301) redirect all those non-existing urls to your homepage?
    If you have changed or removed pages, then yes, you would want to redirect them so you get the benefit of any inbound links to those non-existent pages. A 404 error page is NOT a good alternative to a redirect in this case.

    The custom 404 page is still helpful though if a visitor is taken to a non-existing page for whatever reason (bad URL in an inbound link, dead internal link, etc...).

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    • Emerson agrees
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    I see, but if there is such a bad inbound link, wouldn't it be better to also have that juice being passed through to your homepage?
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    Well, if you have a page at "www.yoursite.com/widgets" and I link to you, but I spell widgets wrong, "www.yoursite.com/wigets", then users are sent to your custom 404 page instead of getting the normal one. It's not practical to make 301 redirect for each potential misspelling.

    Also, I've read that there are some issues with permanently redirecting your 404 error page to another page, but I have never done it personally.
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    I guess it should be possible somehow to put in your .htaccess that all 'nonexisting' pages are automatically redirected to your homepage... No idea how to do that though...

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