A soft Error 404 error is a page not found error which returns a server response code of 200. It returns the home page of the site with the error message which will confuse the visitor. The users can see the web page with all the design but instead of content, they will get an error. The hard 404 errors say that the page does not exist but this soft 404 error will confuse the user and they can view some information like server info, content type, etc which will not be understood by the user.
This Soft 404 error can limit a site’s crawl coverage by search engines. Because these duplicate URLs can be crawled instead of pages with the unique content. This error can be fixed by using the Webmaster Tools. This error can be fixed by the following Google’s outlined steps.
- Determine whether the URL contains the correct content, returns a 200 response, redirects 301 to accurate URL, and should return a 400 or 410 response.
- Confirm the configuration of proper HTTP Response code by using Fetch as Googlebot in Webmaster Tools
- If you return 404s, customise 404 pages to aid the users.