Handling Bad Links from Search Engines

Search engines tend to keep links to all the pages of your site “forever”, even after a page has been removed or renamed (i.e. broken links).

And if you’ve migrated your website from elsewhere into Bongo4U, what do you do about all of those old page links in Google, and other search engines, that link to old page addresses that no longer exist on your new website? You don’t want to lose all of that valuable traffic from search engines!

It’s easy to do in Bongo4U!

By default, Bongo4U will display an empty page with an error message that looks like “Sorry, but this page cannot be found: /bad_address…” when a user clicks on an old, stale link from a search engine. That’s a good start; you at least got the user to your website, but you can do much better than this default empty page that only displays a one-line error message.

You can optionally create a hidden page with a special Page Name (URL) of “page-not-found”. You can put whatever you want on this page (e.g. a WYSIWYG block with your own custom suggestions for the “lost” user). You could provide some links to some popular pages on your site or just recommend that they click any of the navigation links shown on your site. But it would probably be helpful if you provided them with some links within your commentary to, for example, your home page, your features or other beneficial page(s), your contact page, etc., just to give them some suggestions to help them get “into your site”.

For advanced users that have Designer level permission to your site, you could also optionally create a custom layout template for this custom page-not-found page, to affect its styling.

Of course, this is all optional. Bongo4U by default will automatically redirect bad links to an empty page with the above stated one-line error message. The suggestions presented here are all optional, but they do provide the user who clicked on a stale search engine link, with more information about your website and some suggestions to get them going (instead of only saying, “Sorry…”).

Try It

Go ahead and create a new hidden page with a Page Name (URL) of “page-not-found”, add a WYSIWYG or other block to it, and enter some comments. Then invoke your website with an invalid ending to your URL (e.g. “www.mycompany.com/bad“) to see your custom error page. If you don’t like it, then just delete the page-not-found hidden page or further customize it until it contains the content that you suits your needs.

The bottom line is to not lose users who click on old, stale search engine links, but provide them with information about your website or organization to engage or compel them into looking further.