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Making The 404 Page The Home Page?

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#1 poxc2006


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Posted 05 August 2011 - 11:50 AM

The CMS/e-commerce engine my company uses does not have a 404 page - it just 301's everything to the home page. Not just for expired URLs, but if you type something totally random like ourdomain.com/sdlfjasdfkj13, it redirects to ourdomain.com

My opinion is that this is a dubious practice from a usability perspective, what is your opinion on the SEO ramifications of using the homepage as the default 404 page?

#2 Jill


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Posted 05 August 2011 - 12:16 PM

Are you sure it provides a 301 http header response? If so, while not a great solution, I think it should be okay. But if it's a 200 OK it would be bad. It really should be a 404, however, and not a redirect.

#3 qwerty


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Posted 05 August 2011 - 02:36 PM

You're right about there being usability issues with this. What's the user supposed to think when they click a link that they think is going to take them to a contact page and they find themselves on the home page?

It's also going to make it harder for you to identify bad links on the site. Assuming you've got redirects that are in place for reasons other than error management, how are you supposed to know that a given 301 you find in your logs is a bad link and not an intentional redirect? With real 404s for pages that aren't found you can check your logs or run a tool like Xenu through the site and easily find problems that can be fixed.

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