I am working on an e-commerce website (similar to ebay) with a lot of categories.

Being a new e-commerce a lot of categories are empty (have no products).

Initially, I made a sitemap containing a link to each and every single category, and submitted the sitemap to Google... then I got the following error for the empty categories:

Submitted URL returns soft 404

So then I changed the sitemap. The new sitemap includes a link to only those categories which have at least one product. The menu still contains a link to empty categories but I have marked the link as nofollow and the empty category page has noindex meta tag. So I am trying to tell the crawlers to not index the empty category pages...

The sitemap is updated every 2 hours, so if the category changes and gets populated with products, I would include it in the sitemap and remove the nofollow and noindex meta tags.

Now Google Search Console is showing me the following error:

Submitted URL marked ‘noindex’

enter image description here

I believe this is because Google had previously indexed the empty category pages... but now the same page is marked as noindex, however this page no longer exists in the new sitemap.

How can I resolve this error?

  • 2
    Why do you need to remove this message? It looks like it is telling you things are working the way you want. Commented Jan 9, 2022 at 23:05
  • @StephenOstermiller: thanks for your comment. I have included a screenshot in the question, the pages are marked with error... that's why I want to fix them. Commented Jan 9, 2022 at 23:17
  • 4
    I'd just leave it. Having errors there doesn't hurt your site at all. You've already taken the appropriate action. Commented Jan 10, 2022 at 0:09
  • 2
    Most errors I encounter end up fixed if I do nothing. Commented Jan 10, 2022 at 3:38


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