Understanding Client-Side Errors: 404 vs. 410 and SEO Impact

This guide explores common client-side errors, specifically focusing on the 404 Not Found and 410 Gone HTTP status codes. We’ll also discuss their impact on Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

404 Not Found vs. 410 Gone: What’s the Difference?

  • 404 Not Found: This is the default error code when a requested URL doesn’t exist on the server. It could be due to a typo in the URL, a permanently removed page, or a temporary issue.
  • 410 Gone: This code indicates that the requested resource has been intentionally removed and will never be available again. Use this for content that has been deleted or moved permanently.

When Google Encounters a 404

  • Google will initially try to crawl the URL again after receiving a 404.
  • If the 404 persists, Google will eventually remove the URL from its index after a period of time (usually weeks).
  • This process helps ensure Google’s index reflects accurate and up-to-date information.

The Soft-404: A Google-Specific Case

  • Google may flag a page with a 200 OK status code as a “Soft-404” if it believes the content is irrelevant or low quality.
  • This doesn’t trigger a 404 error for users, but it can negatively impact SEO by influencing Google’s indexing decisions.
  • Use Search Console to identify Soft-404 warnings and address potential content quality issues.

404s and SEO: What You Need to Know

  • Having a small number of 404s is normal and shouldn’t be a major concern.
  • However, excessive 404s can indicate problems with your website’s structure or internal linking.
  • Regularly review your website logs or use tools like Search Console to identify and fix broken internal links that lead to 404s.
  • This helps maintain a healthy website structure and improves user experience.

410 Gone: Faster Removal from Search Engine Results

  • Compared to 404s, Google removes pages with a 410 status code from its index quicker.
  • Use 410 for intentionally removed content with no chance of return.

Benefits of Using Different Status Codes

  • Utilizing both 404 and 410 codes helps categorize errors more effectively.
  • Search Console allows filtering by status code, simplifying the identification and management of 404 and 410 errors.
  • Using 410 for intentional removals reduces the need for constant monitoring compared to 404s, which might be accidental.

Finding Client-Side Errors with Site Audit Tools

  • Tools like SEMrush’s Site Audit can help identify pages with 4XX errors, broken links, and images.
  • This simplifies the process of maintaining a healthy website free of client-side errors.

By understanding and addressing client-side errors effectively, you can ensure a smooth user experience and maintain optimal website health for search engines.

Krishnaprasath Krishnamoorthy

Meet Krishnaprasath Krishnamoorthy, an SEO specialist with a passion for helping businesses improve their online visibility and reach.  From Technical, on-page, off-page, and Local SEO optimization to link building and beyond, I have expertise in all areas of SEO and I’m dedicated to providing actionable advice and results-driven strategies to help businesses achieve their goals. WhatsApp or call me on +94 775 696 867