Content: Soft 404 Pages

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Soft 404 Pages

Pages that respond with a ‘200’ status code suggesting they are ‘OK’, but appear to be an error page – often referred to as a ‘404’ or ‘page not found’.

These typically should respond with a 404 status code if the page is no longer available.

These pages are identified by looking for common error text used on pages, such as ‘Page Not Found’, or ‘404 Page Can’t Be Found’.

How to Analyse in the SEO Spider

View URLs with this issue in the ‘Content’ tab and ‘Soft 404 Pages’ filter, and export all URLs using the ‘Export’ button.

View URLs that link to Soft 404 Pages using the lower ‘Inlinks’ tab and export them in bulk via ‘Bulk Export > Content > Soft 404 Inlinks’.

The text used to identify these pages can be configured via ‘Config > Spider > Preferences’.

What Triggers This Issue

This issue is triggered when pages respond with a ‘200 OK’ status code but appear to be error pages, typically resembling a ‘404 Page Not Found’ error.

These pages are identified by common error text like ‘Page Not Found’, or ‘404 Page Can’t Be Found’.

For example:

Returns a ‘200 OK’ status code but the on page content says “Error 404. Page no longer exists”.

How To Fix

Soft 404 pages should be reviewed and if true error pages should be configured to return a ‘404’ status code. All links on a website should ideally resolve to working pages for users.

Links to error pages should be updated to their correct locations, removed and redirected where appropriate.

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