Archive for August, 2008
Google Analytics was reporting a client’s Error page as the 3rd hottest page on the Web site. Obviously there was a problem but the biggest mystery was that although visitors were getting a 404 Page Not Found Error, through the Google Analytics Navigation Summary I could see that visitors encountering the 404 Error were continuing to find content on the Web site from that page.
After performing some investigation, I found that the 404 Error Page was populated with a sitemap of the entire Web site, including a list of URL’s by product. Visitors were redirected, so to speak, from a serious issue.
The root cause of the problem was resolved by identifying a URL that was renamed. A 301 URL level redirect implemented via .htaccess redirected the old filename to the intended new URL. The problem was fixed immediatly. It took 2-3 weeks for Google to cache the new URL information but the redirect worked as intended.
Use 404 Error Pages for more than just reporting an error. Be creative and take the opportunity to fix a fubar gracefully.