If you’re familiar with Google Search Console, you may have seen the “Soft 404” error. It looks like a problem but it is also not that important, right? Let me take that confusion and explain all the details about soft 404!
What’s a Soft 404 Error?
Soft 404 happens when a page shows a 200 HTTP response code even if it does not exist anymore. It basically says “I’m here, but you cannot find me!” because it is actually 404.
Why Does Soft 404 Happen?
This problem generally occurs because of web servers. When the web servers get confused, they can show the page as a soft 404. But when that happens:
- When a website uses its own error page and confuses the signals
- When you redirect the pages in the wrong direction and the page doesn’t work properly
- When you change a page constantly (it confuses the web server according to whether it’s active or passive)
All of these reasons may affect your page performance and cause soft 404 errors.
How to Fix Soft 404 Errors?
Now, if you learned the reasons, let’s examine the solutions:
- If the page is not working or deleted, make sure that it’s 404 and has been redirected to another page.
- Check your redirects and control their sources. Don’t make irrelevant redirects and misdirect the user.
- If your page changes constantly, ensure everything is alright and works properly.
- Check Google Search Console regularly and when you find a page has a soft 404 error, fix it quickly.
- Consult your web hosting provider and ask for help.
Why is Soft 404 Important?
Well, as SEO marketers, we all want to create customer-friendly websites. Search engines care about errors like that. So, we must check the basic errors from Google Search Console, Semrus, or other tools to prevent traffic loss.
404 errors may damage the user’s trust and quality score of your domain. Therefore it is important to fix it and keep your website alive all the time!