What is Soft 404 error and how to fix Soft 404 errors?

A soft 404 error occurs when a URL cannot be found on the web server, but the server returns a 200-level code (successful) to the browser instead of a 404 error (not found) or a 301 redirect to another URL. Soft 404s are particularly a problem for search engines because success code can cause non-existent pages to appear in search results.

In order to fix the soft 404 error, you must first check if the page is really a soft 404 or a false alarm. After that you can:

  • Configure the server to return the proper not found error code (404 or 410)
  • Redirect the page using a 301 redirection.
  • Improve the page and request indexing.
  • Keep the page without changes but de-index it from search engines and disallow bots.

Related SEO technical words, terms or abbreviations and their definitions

What is Noindex?

What is Redirect?

What is HTTP Header?

HTTP 200 Status Code

What is 301 Redirect?

What is 302 Redirect?

What is 404 Error?