What is the difference between soft 404 and 404 errors?

arindamb

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What is the difference between a soft 404 and simply a 404 error? Do they really affect in search rankings or bounce rate of a website?

Please share your comments
 

ITMDB

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If someone hits a soft 404 page they will be redirected to a homepage or a custom 404 page (Still staying on your site) whereas a 404 error are browser type pages displaying the 404 error.

If someone clicks a link and it takes them to a soft 404 error page they are more than likely going to have a little look around your site to try and find the content they cam for. Also, search engine spiders will be able to continue crawling your page if they come across a soft 404.
 

RDO Servers

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Either way, 404 = Bad.

If you have broken links, you need to fix the links on your site. If your site structure has changed, and you have backlinks that are pointing to no-existant pages (that will result in a soft or hard 404), make sure you add 301 redirects to the appropriate page.
 

jessica12

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Custom 404 Page is a optimized page of website which exist to other pages if requested page is not available on the website.
 

sajid israq

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Basically, Soft 404 is a page that looks like a 404 but returns a HTTP status code 200. I mean, the website might show a Page Not Found”-style page, but search engines such as Google will see the page and think that it's an actual live page.

How to fix:
You can use Google Webmaster Tools which will tell you about the ones Google has detected. It is controlled through your website's .htaccess file.
In order to configure your 404 page, simply add this line to the site's .htaccess file:

ErrorDocument 404 /cool404.html
 
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