How soft 404 pages are harmful for your Google ranking & Solution?

True actions for Goals


Today I am discuss about URL error & response codes, especially about 404 Error & Types of 404 Error which is detect by Google bots.

According to Google Webmaster Crawl Errors report, you are able to see following type of URL Error in your website webmaster (search console) in case of Google bots find out.

  • Server error : – It means Googlebot not able to access your website due to any of reasons like server is busy, more traffic, request timed out & as result bots not reach out to your website.
  • Soft 404: – It means request page is 404 but server respond 200 response code (Ok) rather than 404.
  • 404 Error: It means crawler does not find out requested page on server.
  • Access denied: It’s no permission to access the URL to crawler (Bots)
  • Not followed: This error shows in case of Google could not completely follow due to JavaScript, cookies, session IDs, frames, DHTML, or Flash pages or due to improper 301 redirection.
  • DNS error: This Error shows due to problem with DNS Server like its decline the communication or access.

What are Soft 404 & Hard 404 Errors?

“404 Status code indicate that client has connected to the server but server unable to find out a reuqested page in their database. “.

Soft 404 Error:

When any user requests any web URL & as response code, Server shows 200 (Ok) but exactly requested URL is 404 (not exist on server) & it’s redirected manually through coding on other page like home. Google consider these types of server response as soft 404 & directly affect the website ranking.

Why soft 404 is harmful for your website ranking?

If in google webmaster you have seen Soft 404 error then try to remove it because this error is harmful as SEO prospect & can affect your keywords ranking. Google itself intimate to users about soft 404 said effects.

 “Soft 404s are confusing for users, and furthermore search engines may spend much of their time crawling and indexing non-existent, often duplicative URLs on your site. This can negatively impact your site’s crawl coverage—because of the time Googlebot spends on non-existent pages, your unique URLs may not be discovered as quickly or visited as frequently.”  – Google Webmaster Blog, Aug. 12, 2008

Above statements shows that Google very carefully monitor the every web pages & URL at the time of crawling & indexing so try to avoid use of this type of unethical methods.

How to find out soft 404 error information & resolve it?

There are 2 methods to find that your website exist soft 404 issues?

  • Through Google Search console: Go to dashboard of Google console -> Crawl -> Crawl Error & You can see the information as follow if any soft 404 error will exist on your website.


  • Through Response Code Checker: You can use HTTP status code checker to know more about your website’s pages HTTP status. If you see that any 404 page is showing 200 code like this:


What is Solution?

There are 2 solutions depends numbers of errors. First If you have seen lot’s of error for all non-existing pages (means there response code is 200 but) then with this case you need to check your .htaccess file & remove this type of unethical redirection. You should take the help of developer for solving this type of issues.

Second As I have seen one common reason of soft 404 error is search result pages. When we use manual search box for users to help them for find out any result, its response 404 page in case of no any matched result existing on website. But server response will be 200 (Ok) in this situation.  So it’s best to save the time of Google bot by No index website search result page as well query parameter.

If you have any queries regarding Webmaster & Your website SEO then please feel to free write your questions on

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