Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by Kyle Hawk on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Tuesday, October 18, 2016).

Custom 404 page

Hey there, I have a Google Search Console question. Probably about six months ago, I made a custom 404 page. Ever since, every now and again, 404.php shows up in my Search Console under a "Soft 404". The URL that says is broken (www(dot)randomanime(dot).org/404.php), isn`t. It works fine. Any ideas why this might be happening? Thanks in advance.

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Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.

  • Jim Munro: Hi Kyle Hawk, this is because the plumbing for your custom 404 is not right somewhere. Instead of returning the custom 404 with a 404 error, a 302 temporary redirect is issued and the 404 page is 200 OK.
  • Jim Munro: Test it with a page that isn`t there. 302 http://www.randomanime.org/zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz server_redirect temporary http://www.randomanime.org/404.php 200 http://www.randomanime.org/404.php normal
  • Kyle Hawk: Thanks for pointing that out Jim Munro. The way I have it set up is in the .htaccess file: ErrorDocument 404 http://www.randomanime.org/404.php. Is there some other way to do this without it returning the temporary 302 redirect? Thanks.
  • Jim Munro: I`m a below-average coder, Kyle Hawk, but try changing the .htaccess line to the following and test it.
  • Micah Fisher-Kirshner: to add to this: I always check to make sure the page is providing the right status code via a Check Server redirect like this: http://www.redirect-checker.org/
  • Jim Munro: ErrorDocument 404 /404.php
  • Kyle Hawk: BINGO Jim Munro! To think I looked right over that in a couple articles myself. So I guess it was the absolute URL messing it up. Micah Fisher-Kirshner Thank you for the tip! Very useful.

View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Tuesday, October 18, 2016).

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