If a site has linked to your site and later that content is deleted or moved, a visitor from that link will see a 404 error page instead of what they were seeking. This is a frustrating experience. Sometimes, visitors will try to find the content they were expecting to find but often they leave to search elsewhere. Short visits like this are called bounces and are missed opportunities. Don’t let visitors to your website experience this problem. Learn what Google says about Not Found errors here.
How to Check for 404 Errors
Add your site to Google search console here. You will need a Google login, preferably your Google Analytics login. Click Add Site and enter your website URL. It will take about a day for Google to gather data on your site. Check under Crawl and then Crawl Errors on the left to see any problems with your site. Make sure to check your site in Google Search Console at least monthly so you can catch errors as they crop up. If the original content has moved or is no longer on your site, put in a 301 redirect to the content or similar content. Your web developer or host should be able to help you with this.
Website 404 Errors in Google Search Console
Improve Your 404 Page
Another way to improve user experience with missing content is to have a better 404 error page. Check out what your site is currently showing for 404 errors by entering a nonsense URL such as http://yourdomain.com/bla. Make sure there is a prominent search field so that the visitor can search for what they want. Also, offer related content to their search so that they can explore different content.
By fixing broken content and improving your 404 error page, you can create better usability for your site and potentially increase conversions and lower its bounce rate.