Last month, Google released one of its biggest algorithm changes ever. “Penguin,” as it’s called by Search Engine Optimizers (SEOs), devalued thousands of links all over the web, obliterating the rankings on many sites participating in “black hat” and “gray hat” SEO. This is just one of the many examples of how, as Google’s algorithm gets smarter, it’s getting more and more difficult for webmasters to manipulate the system and rank their site on Google. As a result, webmasters and SEOs are looking for more ways to drive traffic to their sites and earn links more naturally. We’ve seen these efforts manifest themselves as infographics, interactive games, widgets, and more recently, clever 404 pages.
Since the early days of the Internet, 404 pages have remained static and boring – an error message, in black, Times New Roman font on a white background. In recent years, some sites have added a bit of branding to the pages, but this is only a minor improvement. What webmasters don’t realize is that they are missing out on a huge opportunity to bring people to their site and build natural links through social sharing and blogs.
By making these pages into clever, funny designs, you can tap into the full potential of these pages. People share funny stuff, and sharing means links. These links are not only more valuable than directory links and blog comment links, but they are also less likely to be devalued by Google. Not to mention…they make your brand seem cooler.
These are just a few of the best 404 page designs on the web today:
Image Credits: Venn Diagram Image: [Brand Infection] Space Image: [Dribbble] Chuck Norris Image: [SCA Promotions] Fly Image: [Net DNA] Broken Internet Image: [Funny Grins] Delorean Image: [Park Place Texas] Harvest Image [AFRS] Uh-Oh Spaghettios [MSHCDN]