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One of my websites has 131 soft-404 error pages listed in Google Search Console. Those pages are full of content and have changed recently. However, Google Search Console still says that the pages are soft-404 errors.

I've reviewed this article but still don't know how to resolve the issue. Search Engine Journal -- 404 vs Soft 404 Errors: What’s the Difference & How to Fix Both According to it.

Soft error 404 is causing due to duplicate content/thin content.

or

There are some servers that are poorly configured and their missing page loads a 200 code when it should display a 404-response code. If the invisible HTTP header displays a 200 code even if the web page clearly states that the page isn’t found.

My website pages have content that is unique and the server details are configured properly.

  • My website is having this issue too. I have 600,000 pages on the site all with the same template. GSC is reporting 21,000 of them as soft-404 right now. They have unique titles, meta descriptions, and a unique paragraph of text. The main content is functional -- they are JavaScript based calculator pages in 60 different spoken languages. I hoping something is wrong with Google's soft-404 detection right now and they will fix it soon because a significant portion of my site is not indexed because of it right now. – Stephen Ostermiller Apr 29 at 11:43
  • Soft 404 error issue resolved !! – Moin97 May 10 at 5:14
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From the Google help page:

If you think that your page is incorrectly flagged as a soft 404, use the URL Inspection tool to examine the rendered content and the returned HTTP code. If the rendered page is blank, or nearly blank, it could be that your page references many resources that can't be loaded (images, scripts, and other non-textual elements), which can be interpreted as a soft 404. Reasons that resources can't be loaded include blocked resources (blocked by robots.txt), having too many resources on a page, or slow loading/very large resources. The URL Inspection tool should list which resources could not be loaded, and also show you the rendered live page.

So I would start with what Google suggests, check using the Url Inspection Tool.

Also, you could try to see what headers your website is actually sending. It could be showing content, however sending a 404 code. You can check headers using the browser development tools, or by trying and online header check tool.

  • I tried with browser development tools as well as online header check tool,the response is 200 OK,however search console says it is soft 404 error – Moin97 Apr 30 at 6:33
  • any help related to this question ?? – Moin97 Apr 30 at 9:11
  • Can you post a screenshot? And maybe a test url? – Luis Alberto Barandiaran Apr 30 at 15:08
  • A soft 404 is a page that returns 200 OK, but it's content looks like it is a missing pages. What did the page look like in the URL Inspection Tool? – Tony McCreath May 1 at 1:17
  • In URL Inspection tool the page is soft 404 error,while checking the page header it is 200 OK,The page has content which was already indexed earlier,due to recent sitmap xml update..all 131 pages are having softerror 404 – Moin97 May 2 at 4:47
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In wordpress when you create a new tag for your site it automatically generates a new URL.This case could be because you have created new tag but have not published any post regarding the new tag,this could result in an empty page on your site which is potential soft 404 error.

For bot these pages are confusing as they see a page without any content so when they crawl your site they come across these pages which server says exists but the content says otherwise so bot by default do not index such and mark it soft 404 as it is not useful for users.

To fix 404 error by category-

  1. page is no longer available you should display a custom 404 page that should guide your visitors with useful info. For ex Yoast's 404 pages serve lost users to navigate through site easily.

  2. Page has been moved Usually seen when we update an old content (change in slug) in this case redirect to more relevant information.

Hope this could help.

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