Original Poster

Soft 404 Errors

I have read the FAQs and checked for similar issues: YES / NO
My site's URL is: http://shadowstreasuretrunk.com/
Description (including timeline of any changes made):
I removed several products from my site, and deleted the product in Merchant Center Products. In Webmaster Tools I have Soft 404 Errors. When I click on the link for the error I see that a "Sorry We cannot find the page you are looking for. We apologize for the inconvenience." response is given.
This is my question - How long does it take before my deleted products no longer come up in searches? My service does not allow me to perform redirects so that option is out. below is a few examples of the error
URL Detail Detected
404-like content Jun 10, 2010
404-like content Jun 11, 2010
404-like content May 31, 2010
404-like content Jun 2, 2010
404-like content Jun 7, 2010
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Steven Lockey
Steven Lockey
When you set your 404 page to return a 404 status instead of a 200 status?

Basically your website is telling Google that its a valid page and address when it goes there.

The whole point of a 404 page and setting the 404 status for that page is to let the search engines know not to list that page because it isn't there anymore.

The 404 (or 410 is better/quicker now) will tell the search engine that this page is gone and not to list it anymore. I'd only use the 410 if you are sure you aren't going to use this address again anytime soon.
Original Poster
Any idea how long from the time Google shows Soft 404 errors in Webmaster Tool Crawl Errors it will drop from Google search results? Google shows detected dates from May 31 - June 11 and the pages are still found in search results on Google.
Also - Should I use the URL Removal tool for these pages to clean it up (I do not have the ability to do redirects and the pages have already been deleted from my site so I cant prevent all robots from indexing using a head meta tag of <meta name="robots" content="noindex">)? Thoughts?

Is returning a 302 response code (a temporary redirect) to /Errors/PageNotFound.aspx

So google has correctly guessed that you should have a 404 code there.

If you sort out your redirects and return actual 404s, then those soft-404s will disappear.

>>I do not have the ability to do redirects... Thoughts?
That's not good.  Maybe disallow robots from visiting those pages with robots.txt?
Steven Lockey
Steven Lockey
You should be able to get the hosts to set the status to 404 for the pages that aren't there.

It should be like this anyway unless you've overridden this in the HTML, if its the standard error page and it isn't generating 404 status codes it's your host's mistake anyway so they should correct it.

Original Poster
My Host wont do it, it is an option that does not exist at this time. They are 1 year old, it is Auctiva Commerce http://www.auctivacommerce.com/. So I am going to ask them if I can get back the pages I deleted so that I can reuse them. IF I cant get them back to reuse them do you think I should submit removal requests from Google? I cant put the code in the head beings the pages no longer exist.
Original Poster
LOL! I needed that this morning! My personal information is now gone! yippy! thanks again for all your help with all my questions, until next time :-)!
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