Yesterday while browsing on YouTube I ran across a 500 Internal Server Error. Never happened to me before on YouTube, but I didn’t mind. The YouTube 500 Error page seems to contain a funny message, and if there is something I like it is funny errorhandling.
A team of highly trained monkeys has been dispatched to deal with this situation. Please report this incident to customer service.
And that reminded me of something I learned when I started SEO : one of the first things you should implement when setting up a new website are user friendly AND search engine friendly errorpages. Especially the 404 Page Not Found error page is one that should be perfect. For the search engines it should return a 404 status code. For the users it must contain a clear message that says their browser asked for a non existing page and they should be able to click through to the home page or search for another page. You can find more on The Perfect 404.
So I decided to take a look at the 404 error pages from big guys like Google, Yahoo!, YouTube, Live Search, LinkedIn, … And what I found wasn’t always exactly perfect on the usability side …