Ok, now that everyone has had a chance to develop a “content rich” super-converting 404-error page, it’s time to put it to good use.
And what better use for an error page, than to have it give us some indication of what link may have *caused* the error to occur in the first place. Thankfully, Alix Obitz posted just how to do that on the Google Analytics blog the other day. So now we can:
- Serve up a custom, “content rich” 404-error page in our Yahoo! store.
- Track which links are causing the error page to show up.
- Surely, you didn’t think we were done yet, did you?
Once you have the new code in place, you’ll have access to the URLs the visitor was originally looking for. Depending on what the URLs look like, you may be able to determine the visitor’s original intent. A page URL of “http://mystore.com/gensym23.html” is not going to reveal much about what type of content was at that URL previously. A URL of “http://mystore.com/soft-blue-widgets.html” is much more helpful. (I know Rob Snell has a page on “Why You Should Always Create New Pages from the ‘Contents’ page” but I can’t find it right now… The tip is also on pg. 179 of his book, Starting a Yahoo! Business for Dummies)
Anyway, when you *do* come across information laden broken links like the “soft-blue-widgets” example, one possibility is to go create a new page at that location that will redirect the visitor to an existing relevant page. This can be valuable for 2 reasons:
- Your visitor will now end up on a page even more relevant than your “content rich” 404-error page.
- You now have another *working* link to your site. (Your PageRank should skyrocket any minute now…)