This came something of a shock to millions of webmasters when they found that Google has started showing Soft 404 page which the search engine giant bade farewell long ago. But as thing stand, Google is probably in need of Soft 404 page as it is having a terrific or terrible time reshuffling its algo, popularly known as Panda Update, after being flooded with the angry feedbacks of webmaster who could not find their websites in Google’s result page.
What is a Soft 404 Page?
Before we elaborate on the topic, let’s give you a brief idea of what Soft 404 page is. As obvious from its name, Soft 404 Page is a lesser known variation of Error page that returns a 200 response code from the server. So, it is baffling both for the search engines and for the users. These pages do not have any existence but still they return a 200 response code as oppose to a 404 response code.
Now if you find that Google bot has located some Soft 404 Pages in the webmaster tools, you should not take it for granted. It indicates the simple fact that Google-bot is spending more time on crawling those pages, which do not exist in reality. Moreover, it increases the chances of finding duplicate pages of your seo company website that can have negative impacts on your website’s ranking.
Now do not panic if you find your website returning a 200 respond code when it should return a 404 respond code. Try to make your serve return either 404 response code or 410 (gone) to inform Google bot that the page that it is trying to access does not exist.
Here are some other options that you can give a try:
- Use 301 redirection codes to redirect both the users and the Google bot to a more accurate URL.
- Correct the content and make the Soft 404 page viewable to both the users and the search engines by making it return a 200 respond code.
- Use ‘Fetch as Googlebot’ in Webmaster tool to ensure that you have configured the HTTP file correctly.
- If it returns a 404 respond code, design a customized 404 error page for making thing easier for the users.