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I'm developing a website for jobs search. The nature of jobs is that they are coming and going - some published job might be not available just after a few days.

When user trying to access an unavailable job (its link still appears in Google) - I need to show a page saying "this job is not available anymore".

Initially I was displaying regular 200 page saying that job is not available anymore. But as result, Google had multiple URLs leading to the same "content".

In order to improve SEO ranking and avoid penalty for having "duplicate" content, I decided to return "job not available anymore" with code 404.

Now I getting warnings from Google that I have multiple 404 errors.

What is the correct approach to handle a "job not available anymore" scenario?

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    Complaining about valid 404 notices is like complaining that your car started. This is how things are supposed to work. What gets me is that people freak out over a perfectly valid 404s. Google reports these just in case you have a legitimate issue you are not aware of. If you do not, then there is nothing to see, move on. You are doing the right thing! Cheers!! – closetnoc Nov 11 '17 at 15:00
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If a job is no longer available, then a 404 makes sense. Sure, you could leave the page as a 200, with the original description if you're worried about duplicate content, but then you have a less helpful user experience.

I'd go for a two-fold solution like this:

  1. Return a 404
  2. Include "Similar jobs you might find interesting" in the page

The 404 header will tell search engines that the page is no longer relevant and no longer needs to be indexed. The related jobs content will help any users who still land on the page to find new jobs.

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    If the page is never coming back, you might want to use 410 instead of 404. – unor Nov 12 '17 at 1:21
  • In addition the Andrew Lott's suggestions, you could also: add to/update the content on the job detail page or teaser to indicate the position is no longer open (removing any apply now links or how to apply information) , and/or 301 redirect to a jobs landing page. (subsequently update the landing page not to list closed positions) – Anson W Han Nov 16 '17 at 15:33

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