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    Post Google Detecting Real Page as Soft 404 Error


    We've migrated my site (E.g page: https://bit.ly/2xBjy4J) from HTTP to HTTPS protocols in Sep 2017 but I noticed after migration soft 404 granularly increasing.

    But these soft 404 error pages are real pages but Google still detects them as soft 404. When I checked the Google cache it shows me the cache but with HTTP page.

    We've tried all possible solutions but unable to figure out why Google is still important to HTTP pages and detecting HTTPS pages as soft 404 error.

    Can someone please suggest a solution or possible cause for this issue.

    Thanks,
    Nilesh Shirke
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    This behavior is due to the the use of meta refresh on your 404 page. It's an old trick used back in the day. Not a good practice, even today Google warns about using it.

    This url >>> https://www.flightnetwork.com/destinations/Fort-St.-John.shtml results in a 404 being issued.
    Which btw, you should take this opportunity to inform the User that there are no flights available to Fort St. John instead of pushing them to your generic destinations page. I figure here you are trying to capitalize on your ads you have on the page or trying to sell them on another alternate destination.
    This is bad behavior and you should be avoiding it. It is possible you could have your site penalized from generating Ad revenue as a worse case outcome!

    Then your 404 page uses a meta refresh after 5 seconds to redirect to http://www.flightnetwork.com/destinations/.
    (Your 404 page is really an atrocious looking page, I can see you wanting to hide that beast, but you shouldn't.)

    Then you redirect that page to >>> https://www.flightnetwork.com/destinations/ which is not at all what the user wants I am betting. This is probably causing a loss in repeat visitors I would think.

    As you can see this is resulting in a long chain of events.

    This is how Google interprets your scenario....

    Google crawls your site, hits the 404 page, receives the 404 status code, then after 5 seconds you toss Google to a real http page (notice I said http) that exist and gets a 200 status code and is the page that gets indexed. Then you redirect that http page to an https page. This is the reason you are seeing soft 404 errors and seeing http pages still being indexed.

    Bottom line, design a Proper 404 page and LOSE the meta refresh. Its just plain bad for business !.
    Last edited by KnowOneSpecial; Sep 25th, 2018 at 12:18 PM. Reason: spelling correction
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    Hi KnowOneSpecial,

    Thank you for replying on this thread. We can get rid of 404 error page and meta refresh code.

    But we're facing soft 404 issue for https://www.flightnetwork.com/destinations/Vancouver/Calgary_Vancouver.html page (which is 200OK). Any other insight on this?

    Thanks,
    Nilesh Shirke

    Originally Posted by KnowOneSpecial
    This behavior is due to the the use of meta refresh on your 404 page. It's an old trick used back in the day. Not a good practice, even today Google warns about using it.

    This url >>> https://www.flightnetwork.com/destinations/Fort-St.-John.shtml results in a 404 being issued.
    Which btw, you should take this opportunity to inform the User that there are no flights available to Fort St. John instead of pushing them to your generic destinations page. I figure here you are trying to capitalize on your ads you have on the page or trying to sell them on another alternate destination.
    This is bad behavior and you should be avoiding it. It is possible you could have your site penalized from generating Ad revenue as a worse case outcome!

    Then your 404 page uses a meta refresh after 5 seconds to redirect to http://www.flightnetwork.com/destinations/.
    (Your 404 page is really an atrocious looking page, I can see you wanting to hide that beast, but you shouldn't.)

    Then you redirect that page to >>> https://www.flightnetwork.com/destinations/ which is not at all what the user wants I am betting. This is probably causing a loss in repeat visitors I would think.

    As you can see this is resulting in a long chain of events.

    This is how Google interprets your scenario....

    Google crawls your site, hits the 404 page, receives the 404 status code, then after 5 seconds you toss Google to a real http page (notice I said http) that exist and gets a 200 status code and is the page that gets indexed. Then you redirect that http page to an https page. This is the reason you are seeing soft 404 errors and seeing http pages still being indexed.

    Bottom line, design a Proper 404 page and LOSE the meta refresh. Its just plain bad for business !.
    Last edited by KnowOneSpecial; Sep 26th, 2018 at 09:56 AM. Reason: Cleaning up the post
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    I have provided you some insight as to what the problems are with your site.

    What you need are in house folks that can do this job. If they are not capable, you need to farm this work out.

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