Can 404 pages affect rankings?

Nytshade

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No it doesn't, just as long as it's not a 404 HTTP btw. If you're not sure whether it's a "404 Not Found" or a "404 HTTP" code then you can simply use the Fetch as Googlebot feature in Webmaster Tools to double-check.

If you have some links on your site that no longer exist, don't stress too much, that won't affect how your webpages perform in search results.

However, it will not be good for the user though. So the best thing to do with 404's is to create a 301 redirect for the old URL to a new URL.
 

Piers Rollins

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Yeah! It is recommended to remove or redirect 404 pages for avoiding excessive bounce rates, because having high bounce rate on your website will definitely reduce your website's reputation and quality.
 

emily

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I am very much sure that they don't affect your ranking. But, it effects user experience when the user could not find the requested page URL. Mostly this issue is caused by the spelling mistakes. for example demosite.com/webdesign instead of demosite.com/weddesign. To solve 404 error, creating a 301 redirect is the best way.
 
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