404 pages themselves don’t directly affect rankings, but they can indirectly impact search engine optimization (SEO) in the following ways:
- Poor user experience: Search engines consider user experience as a ranking factor. A high number of 404 pages can create a negative user experience, which can negatively impact your rankings.
- Broken links: If there are many broken links on your website, it can lead to crawl errors, which can impact your website’s ability to rank well in search results.
- Loss of link equity: When a page returns a 404 error, any links pointing to that page are essentially broken and no longer pass link equity to your website. This can result in a loss of ranking power and visibility in search results.