Currently i'm migrating www. prefix from my urls and use htaccess to do the job. Since we have new software and cleaned database some of the old urls doesnt exists anymore.

Therefore some requests redirect to 404 page.

1. www.domain.com/old-page # htaccess redirect to non-www url, 301
2. domain.com/old-page # page does not exists, 404

Does this method have any SEO issues, or even affect pagerank?

Or should i check the page existence before redirecting and show 404 without redirect?

2 Answers 2


Answering your question is a fairly complex matter. As a few 404's doesn't hurt your site in general (whether or not they come from 301 redirects), but pages with good and wellwrtitten content which no longer exists can.

I'll refer you to a Google official Webmaster Central Blog post will answer your question in details.

On a more general note - always redirect to the same content if it still exists - no matter what URL you moved it to.


It seems to me that you are redirecting all preexisting www prefixed URLs to unprefixed ones, so the number of 404-redirected pages is not known yet.

There seems to be no need to redirect them to the 404 page, your regular 404 page should catch them by itself.

Regarding the number of pages concerned, you should use a tool like Xenu to see if the volume is important or not.

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