If you’ve been working on a website for a while, you’ve probably come across the soft 404 error. Google Search Console may notify you of a Soft 404 error on your website via email.
So, what exactly are these errors? As a result, in this article, we will discuss what a soft 404 page error is and how to fix it.
What is a soft 404 error and how it is different from 404 error?
- When a web page is unavailable, the server returns the HTTPs status code 404. This informs the browser that no page was found.
- A soft 404 error occurs when the server returns a 200 OK status for the requested page but Google believes it should return a 404. It may do so if the page content appears to be an error or if there is no content.
Common Reasons for Soft 404 error
Here are the four possible causes of a soft 404 error:
When the content is completely missing, the server will send the 200 status code, that means page has requested successfully.
But when indexing the pages this are not meaningful pages and tagged empty page by Google bot. This leads to soft 404 error.
Missing page redirects to the homepage
When there is missing page, the server redirects to the homepage, even though the homepage is not requested.
Google may call this fail page request and leads to soft 404 error.
Missing pages may occasionally redirect to a custom-made webpage that serves a 200 status code, resulting in Google classifying these pages as soft 404s.
How to Fix Soft 404 Errors?
Sometimes, the crawling tools will not detect a soft 404 because it is not a 404 error. Crawling tools, on the other hand, can be used to catch something else.
Here are the few things to keep in mind:
Crawling tools will alert you if your page has short content. It will ask you to add minimum content length for better indexing and prevention towards indexing errors.
When creating content for your website, you should prioritise original content. Google bots/crawlers dislike plagiarised content and can seriously harm your Google Search rankings. Use the internet for references, but don’t just copy and paste the same content.
In rare cases, duplicate content can result in a soft 404 error.
In addition to the crawling tools, you can use Google Search Console to find pages listed as soft 404s by looking under crawl errors.
I wrote this article after receiving an email from Google about Soft 404 errors on one of my websites. So I did some research and decided to share my findings with other developers through an article.
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