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    Google Search Console Shows Soft 404 errors for redirects


    It literally says the target URL doesn't exist, but when I go to it, it is being redirected to a working page.
    Also the url that is being redirected is on the sitemap, but the page that it is being redirected to is not. Is this a problem?
    Last edited by jacktheslipper; Mar 23rd, 2016 at 05:25 PM.
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  3. Dinosaur
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    I doubt your redirecting the page correctly then, you should be doing a 301 redirect in which case a soft 404 would not be shown.
    As for the sitemap, they are not super important, yes google allow you to post one to explain your site structure but googlebot is more than capable of working it out. I personally stopped using them a couple of years ago and seen no adverse effect. I did recently upload one as a test to see if it made any difference. I saw no increase in crawling or jumps in SERPS so from my point of view its a bit pointless.

    If you do upload a sitemap then of course it needs to be correct, if it contains errors then expect 404's so make sure you keep it current.
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    OK, but what about the urls that are NOT redirecting? There are dozens of urls that are listed as soft 404, but they work. They are not redirecting, they are just sitting there, and they are working fine. But Almighty Google says the "The target URL doesn't exist, but your server is not returning a 404" What about that?
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  7. SeoRaptor
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    Did you server went down at a certain point? Or does it stalls when you exceed a certain number of queries at the same time?
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    Pierre, no I haven't experienced the server going down yet. But now I have found the worst error report ever. "Not Found" error. So I go to the page, it is correct, it's a non-existent. But then I look to see what page it's linked from, and it's the same non-existent page itself!
    Can you imagine this? Google is telling me I have a non-existent page on my website, and that it is being linked from the same non-existent page! How does that make sense? And this is happening on multiple pages!
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    Would you mind linking your site? I can run a quick crawl with ScreamingFrog to see if I can replicate any of these issues. If you do post the domain please post it like this: domain.com
    Always happy to help in private message. | Learn about my latest project Can You Get Automated Pages To Rank In Google?
    Useful Links: Useful SEO Tools | GTmetrix | FileOptimizer | Cloudflare
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    I like to have you url too in order to run a quick scan, your situation seems kind of strange...
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  15. Dinosaur
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    I agree with the above we would need some examples to help track this down.
    You could upload a screen shot of some soft 404's google are saying or PM any of us who have offered help if you dont want to go public with your domain.
    I am sure there is a simple answer to this but we can only guess without seeing the problem.
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    Originally Posted by jacktheslipper
    Pierre, no I haven't experienced the server going down yet. But now I have found the worst error report ever. "Not Found" error. So I go to the page, it is correct, it's a non-existent. But then I look to see what page it's linked from, and it's the same non-existent page itself!
    Can you imagine this? Google is telling me I have a non-existent page on my website, and that it is being linked from the same non-existent page! How does that make sense? And this is happening on multiple pages!
    In regards to the "soft" 404s, it may have been a server-was-down situation or the page couldn't fully load but a timeout error wasn't sent either. In my experience, a lot of soft 404s are actually 500 level errors that dont get reported that way. An empty "shell" of a page loads basically and returns a 200OK, but Googlebot knows the page doesn't contain anything.


    I have seen these kind of wonky reporting bugs in WMT before for some clients and while I cannot exactly say WHY this is happening without some more info or screenshots (as others have mentioned), I do want to point out that the significance or impact from them on the site is most likely minimal.

    Genuine 404s (and soft 404s too) are not a ranking factor nor do they penalize a site or impact organic search visibility, unless the page once existed in an older site architecture and had links pointing to it and its no longer there now. Most likely, that's not what happening here. If it is, I'd "recreate" the page and use a 301 to send it to the most equivalent page. That way, you could "re-claim" lost link equity.

    But since Google "discovers" pages on sites from internal AND external links, if someone else's site is linking to a non-existent page on yours, Google will try to crawl it, sometimes repeatedly, over months. That doesn't mean anything is really "wrong" here. If the "Linked From" data for these pages are 100% consistently an internal link from itself, I'd just ignore them or I'd use the Remove feature or I'd set up a 410 (Permanently Gone) so that Googlebot will stop crawling the page and eating into your crawl budget. That would at least mean in the future you dont have to see the same "errors" reported.

    Overall, however, this seems more a reporting nuisance than a critical issue to actually address or solve. WMT does allow you to manually mark of errors as "resolved" even if you have done nothing. Using that or the 410s could flush the errors out of WMT in a few weeks.
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  19. Dinosaur
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    I have had a bit of a dig around this site, I am really concerned by the amount of redirects going on. I am fairly sure this could be the reason but to be honest it a little hard to follow.
    There are both 301 and 302 redirects but without sitting down and doing a proper analysis its a little tricky as I am sure some will be cascaded.

    What needs to be done is remove all the internal links that are pointing to none existing pages and change these links to pages that do exist. It appears but I could be wrong that as new pages was introduced a 301 was put in to send traffic to the new page instead of the old page but the links where not updated. There is a custom 404 page which I assume is what the route cause is as thats returning a 200 response but the page does not exist (soft 404)

    I dont think the site is that large but is currently showing 8135 pages, a lot are redirected to a new page so the true number of pages would be a lot lower.
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  21. SeoRaptor
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    The two pages you pointed out to me have backlinks from other websites.


    Indexed Backlinks for /hrsanddir.html


    phillongcommercial.com/our-stores (seems fixed)
    phillong.com/ContactUsForm (seems fixed)
    co025.hyundaiaccessories.com/ (seems fixed)


    Indexed Backlinks for /news.htm


    co025.hyundaiaccessories.com/ (seems fixed)
    phillong.com/ContactUsForm (seems fixed)
    phillongcommercial.com/our-stores (seems fixed)




    Quick Site analyses

    404 pages
    /{{linkUrl}}


    Broken links


    Page URL
    /Colorado-Springs-Used-Cars/
    Anchor
    http://www.coloradospringshyundai.com/{{linkUrl}}
    {{linkText}}
    HTTP status code (for Anchor)
    404 Not found


    Page URL
    /HoursAndDirections/
    Anchor
    http://www.coloradospringshyundai.com/{{linkUrl}}
    {{linkText}}
    HTTP status code (for Anchor)
    404 Not found


    Page URL
    /Hyundai-Certified-Pre-Owned/
    Anchor
    http://www.coloradospringshyundai.com/{{linkUrl}}
    {{linkText}}
    HTTP status code (for Anchor)
    404 Not found


    Page URL
    /Used-Cars-Briargate-CO/
    Anchor
    http://www.coloradospringshyundai.com/{{linkUrl}}
    {{linkText}}
    HTTP status code (for Anchor)
    404 Not found


    Page URL
    /pre-owned-specials/
    Anchor
    http://www.coloradospringshyundai.com/{{linkUrl}}
    {{linkText}}
    HTTP status code (for Anchor)
    404 Not found


    Page URL
    /stealahyundai/
    Anchor
    http://www.coloradospringshyundai.com/{{linkUrl}}
    HTTP status code (for Anchor)
    404 Not found




    To fix this see this code line 2939 on your homepage


    Code:
    <span class='special-button'>
    <a data-source='linkTtext' class="cblt-button" title="{{linkLabel}}" href="{{linkUrl}}"><span class="cblt-text">{{linkText}}</span></a>
    </span>

    By the way you have:
    30 duplicate titles
    92 duplicate descriptions on your site
    as well as
    144 titles are too long
    16 meta descriptions are too long

    While looking at this weird {{LinkUrl}} quickly I discovered that you had another domain redirecting to your actual domain hyundai-pueblo, it could also come from there.

    Try and fix those thing, i'll try to find some more info.

    By the way, you told me you tried removing the pages from the indexe using the link i provided and Google refused, could you add Google refuse message in your next post? I've never seen Google refusing a url removal with this form i'm wondering what could be the reason.

    Last thing, the two urls you provided are not presently indexed in Google

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