[Offtopic] Google's guess 404 pages

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Wed Aug 27 23:48:20 EST 2008

Google's New Custom 404 Page Creator   
(thanks: http://www.devwebproau.com/)

Google Webmaster Central Blog:

"Make your 404 pages more useful" 

Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 10:13 AM 

Your visitors may stumble into a 404 "Not found" page on your website for 
a variety of reasons: 

* A mistyped URL, or a copy-and-paste mistake 
* Broken or truncated links on web pages or in an email message 
* Moved or deleted content

Confronted by a 404 page, they may then attempt to manually correct the 
URL, click the back button, or even navigate away from your site. As 
hinted in an earlier post for "404 week at Webmaster Central", there are 
various ways to help your visitors get out of the dead-end situation. 

In our quest to make 404 pages more useful, we've just added a section in 
Webmaster Tools called "Enhance 404 pages". If you've created a custom 404 
page this allows you to embed a widget in your 404 page that helps your 
visitors find what they're looking for by providing suggestions based on 
the incorrect URL.

In addition to attempting to correct the URL, the 404 widget also suggests 
the following, if available:

* a link to the parent subdirectory
* a sitemap webpage
* site search query suggestions and search box

How do you add the widget? Visit the "Enhance 404 pages" section in 
Webmaster Tools, which allows you to generate a JavaScript snippet. You 
can then copy and paste this into your custom 404 page's code. As always, 
don't forget to return a proper 404 code.

Can you change the way it looks? Sure. We leave the HTML unstyled 
initially, but you can edit the CSS block that we've included. For more 
information, check out our guide on how to customize the look of your 404 

This feature is currently experimental -- we might not provide corrections 
and suggestions for your site but we'll be working to improve the 
coverage. In the meantime, let us know what you think in the comments 
below or in our group discussion. Thanks for helping us make the Internet 
a more friendly place! 

Written by Sahala Swenson, Google Webmaster Tools team

And thanks again Fred for your very kind email.

Cheers people
Stephen Loosley
Victoria, Australia

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