Why is it important for your server to respond with a 404 header code when the page is “not found”? It is important because search engines rely on those header codes to direct the crawling and re-indexing of the pages on your site. If your site doesn’t respond properly it may affect the crawling and indexing of your site.
How to verify if your server is responding with the right codes?
If a page exists in your server, it should return a 200 code “found”. If it doesn’t, it should only return a 404. We see clients whose servers respond with 200 and others when they should be responding with 404.
What if your site is returning something different than 404?
If it is returning something else, you have to check the specific case to learn why the server is responding differently. To fix it it can be as easy as including a line in the main .htaccess file of your Apache-based host. It can be as complicated as having to change the way your CMS treats URL requests (specially if using clean urls.)
If you are interested in improving your web footprint for your business, please contact us today!