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What kind of page drops faster from Google's index? One that is 301 redirected to another page or one that gives a 404 status?

In regards to the first option I would expect the new page to take the place of the redirected one. However, will this happen faster than Google would drop a 404 page from their index?

Thank you

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In my experience, Google can take its time to update the index when it encounters 301 redirects. I've seen it take a week or two after Googlebot crawls a page before the new URL is reflected in the search index.

404 Not Found pages take 24 hours after crawling to be removed from the index.

410 Gone pages are removed from the index within hours.

I believe this is because redirects are not a user experience issue. Google can send users to the old URL and still expect they will get to the right place. Because of this, it doesn't feel the need to update them quickly. 404 errors are more serious but Google has said that it gives webmasters a 24 hour grace period in case the error is caused by a server configuration issue and was unintentional. 410 errors are removed as soon as possible because they indicate deliberate action from the webmaster to remove the page.

If your redirect is a "soft 404" error I would expect Google to treat it more like a real 404 and remove the page after 24 hours. A soft 404 is when something other than a 404 status is served to indicate an error. This can include:

  • A 200 OK status but with text on the page indicating an error
  • Redirecting to an error page
  • Redirecting to the home page, or to the directory root.

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