404 Page Not Found errors are the bane of any website, but the sad part is that you cannot avoid them. They happen when you are making changes with your website. They can also happen when a particular page associated with a link does not exist and they can happen if the visitor has made a mistake when typing the URL of the page. You cannot avoid 404 errors and additionally, when these happen, the visitors may just navigate away from the page, never to return. That is the reason 301 redirects have become so indispensable in the SEO world. They are an option for the webmaster to allow visitors to stay on the website.
A permanent 301-redirect page will permanently redirect the person from the error page to another functional one. This could be a replacement page for the one that has ceased to function. When a person clicks on a link for the defunct page, he or she will be redirected to this new replacement page. For the user, this does not make any difference at all. They reach where they want to, and you have prevented loss of traffic due to a fatal 404 error.
You can set up a permanent 301 redirect by altering the information in the .htaccess file in the root directory of the website, or you can use a software program for the purpose.
Permanent 301 redirects make for good search engine optimization. When a search engine sees that a webpage shows a 404 error for a long period of time, they will simply stop ranking the page and then the site itself. In any case, when the people cannot visit the webpage, the search engines will deem them useless and remove them from their rankings.
Using permanent 301 redirects can actually salvage your website from doom. Identify all defunct pages on your site and give them permanent 301 redirects to keep your business prospects intact.