Table of Contents
When browsing the web, you may have come across a 404 error or a soft 404 error message. These error messages indicate that the page you are trying to access does not exist. But they are not the same thing. In this blog post, we will explain the differences between a Not Found (404) and a Soft 404 error message. We will provide tips on how to fix them.
What is a “Not Found (404) Error”?
A Not Found (404) error message is displayed when a web server cannot find the page you are trying to access. This can happen for several reasons. Such as the page has been deleted, the URL has been changed, or there is a typo in the URL. When a user encounters a 404 error message, they will typically see a page with the error message displayed on it.
Why is a 404 Error Bad for SEO?
When a search engine crawler comes across a 404 error message, it assumes that the page no longer exists and removes it from the search index. This means that the page will no longer show up in search results, and any links to that page will become broken. This can have a negative impact on your website’s SEO, as search engines will penalize you for having broken links.
How to Fix a Not Found (404) Error?
The best way to fix a 404 error is to redirect the user to a page that is relevant to their original search. This can be done by setting up a 301 redirect, which tells search engines that the page has permanently moved to a new URL. This ensures that any links to the original page will redirect to the new page, preserving any SEO value associated with those links.
What is a Soft 404 Error?
A Soft 404 error message is displayed when a web server returns a page that looks like a 404 error, but the server returns a 200 (OK) HTTP status code. Soft 404 errors often occur when a server is configured to return a custom error page when a 404 error is encountered.
Why is a Soft 404 Error Bad for SEO?
Soft 404 errors can have a negative impact on your website’s SEO because search engines may not be able to distinguish between a Soft 404 error and a legitimate page. This can cause search engines to index pages that do not provide any value to users, which can result in a penalty.
How to Fix a Soft 404 Error?
The best way to fix a Soft 404 error is to ensure that your server returns the correct HTTP status code. If a page has been deleted or moved, you should set up a 301 redirect to the new page. If a page has never existed, you should return a 404 HTTP status code to indicate that the page does not exist.
In conclusion, both Not Found (404) and Soft 404 errors can have a negative impact on your website’s SEO. To avoid these errors, it is essential to ensure that your website returns the correct HTTP status code. By setting up 301 redirects and returning 404 status codes when appropriate, you can preserve any SEO value associated with your website’s pages and avoid penalties from search engines.