404 pages to help search for missing children

Posted on October 5, 2012

 

There are a number of schools of thought as regards to swhether 404 error pages are bad for SEO. Some in the field believe they should be avoided at all costs, with every page 301’d feeding back to a relevant live page, others feel that all mistypes should 404.

Another group would suggest a more pragmatic approach is taken with some allowed to 404 and others being 301’d.

Today though, it seems that they could be used for something good at last; to help in the hunt for missing children.

With the case of five-year April Jones still present in the minds of many, a new initiative from Europe has begun putting details of missing kids on the Not Found pages.

Similar in many ways to the how milk cartons have been used in the US since the 1980s, the move has garnered wide-spread approval. Up until the end of September 2012, about 500 firms across the continent had joined the scheme.

ISPs and hosting firms are amongst those to sign up, whilst many digital media companies have also agreed to host pictures and biographies on their 404s.

The scheme is simple in its delivery, requiring the introduction of a small piece of code into the pages.

Speaking about the initiative, a spokeswoman for Child Focus, Maryse Roland said:

“This project will allow us to once again concentrate the attention on children (some) whom we haven’t heard of for many years,”

Created by many European organisations including Child Focus and Missing Children Europe, there is a growing drive for all website owners to join the project.

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