What are Soft 404s?
The Rendering Issue
The core of the Soft 404 issue often revolves around rendering. When Googlebot crawls a webpage, it not only fetches the HTML content but also attempts to render and understand the page as a real user would.
The Noindex Dilemma
Now, here’s where it gets interesting for SEOs. If Googlebot encounters such rendering issues repeatedly on a website, it might become more cautious. It may begin to consider the possibility that the website is intentionally hiding content from search engines or experiencing persistent technical problems. In such cases, Google may be more inclined to apply a “noindex” directive to those problematic pages.
The implications of Soft 404s and potential noindexing are significant. When Google decides to noindex a page, it essentially removes it from its index, rendering it invisible to users searching for relevant results. This can be disastrous for websites and SEO, as it effectively means your content won’t appear in search results.
How to Handle Soft 404s