4

Question, is it ok for one of the pages levels to 404? (SEO-wise)

Let's say I have a sitemap like this:

example.com
--/services
  --/foo
  --/bar
--/sectors
  --/my-sector
  --/another-sector
  --/the-sector
  --/stuff
--/about-example
--/contact
--/etc
--/etc

This makes a lot of structural sense. However, from a design point of view, I think having a page to show all the sectors (example.com/sectors) is pointless since all of the sector pages can be accessed from the home page, main navigation, and in each sector page.

Would there be any SEO consequences if the /sectors page were to 404?

Note: in the sitemap 'example.com/sectors' would not be included.

2

It’s a good practice to make URLs browsable. But for usability, not necessarily for SEO.

I think there is no reason to assume that there will be any kind of SEO consequence. Most bots will probably never try to visit new URLs by removing path segments from right to left, but even if some bots try it, they can hardly expect this to work for all sites.

So as long you don’t link to the non-existent page, your SEO should be fine.

But you might still want to consider doing this for usability reasons. You could create /sectors (which outputs an automatically generated list of links to all sectors), and add a meta-robots element with noindex, without linking this page in the menu. If that’s not easily possible, you could consider redirecting from /sectors to / (in case the homepage is the go-to page for a list of all sectors).

  • Looking at my site logs, I can see the googlebot going to pages that currently have no links to them so I think it does desconstruct the URL to find pages – aris Jan 23 at 2:49

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