Monday, 5 November 2012

404 VS 410: WHAT GOOGLE PREFERS


This is a recurring issue. Should I put up a 410 instead of a 404 for my non-existent pages? The 410 is it better than the 404?
Ok, let from the beginning!
Firstly, you must know that there is no preference to have on these two codes is for the simple reason that each of these responses http corresponds to a particular case. These two codes do not mean the same thing, there is therefore, strictly speaking, just no reason to make a choice.Must return one or the other as needed.
Then they still have a point of convergence: beyond the the fact that they belong to the same family of codes http (4xx) ;), the two codes are used to tell the user (web browser) or robot ( crawler) to ask them, they ask that the page does not exist / more. We immediately see the benefit in terms of SEO.
And finally, in a post on the help forum to Google webmaster , John Wu (Googler well known), confirmed that Google previously treated both response codes in the same way. Only voila, given its use by webmasters, this has changed to the extent that Google would prefer a response code 410 rather than 404.
I followed up on the 404 vs 410 thing with the team here. As Mentioned by some others here & elsewhere, We have beens Treating Them Generally the same in the past.However, looking at how webmasters Effective use em in practice we are now 410 Treating the HTTP result code as a bit "more permanent" than a 404. So if you're absolutely safe That a page no longer exists and will never exist again, using a 410 Likely Would be a good thing.
That said, do not rush to break your server configuration to return 410 in every way, I think this preference is only superficial and that it's not worth it to change all your settings. He says so himself: "It does not worth any break for it, but if you were to re-parameterize your servers, it would be a good practice to implement."
I do not think it's worth rewriting a server to change from 404 to 410, if you're looking at goal from That of your code anyway, you might as well choose the "permanent" result code if you can be absolutely safe que le URL will not be used again. If you can not be safe of that (for whatever reason), then I would recommend sticking to the 404 HTTP result code.
In the worst case, the 410 will be Treated the same as a 404 in the best case it'll be a bit quicker & stickier :-).
The trick is that you have to be absolutely sure that the page does not exist anymore, to return this code.

Meaning of HTTP codes and SEO

For those who are interested, here is the definition of the two return codes http. This will serve to understand where to use them and what will be the potential impact in terms of SEO

Http code 404

The server informed us that the page that you ask him is unknown. It is therefore impossible to send you a satisfactory answer.

Http code 410

The server informs you that the page you ask him is known, but that it is impossible to return it because it was deliberately removed from the results. He also informs us that he will never be possible for us to return a response with this Uri.
There is therefore a real subtlety and that each of these codes is suitable for a particular situation.
My recommendations:
- In the daily management of your websites, I recommend you leave the 404 (for the moment because I think that there is no real gain to use a 410)
- If you do a cleaning of your site (after / in anticipation of Penguin , for example), so you really show your willingness to "cleaner" your site. In this case, say a 410 engines, I know this page but I deliberately deleted.
Bonus:
I read an article about seomoz which seems very fun. Ok, they did not bring us anything new, but computer graphics are nice ...;)
This article explains the different response codes in pictures:
I leave you the link if you want to read the article , and I take pictures here to illustrate the most common response codes in the world of SEO.

Http code 200 (OK)

Http code 301 ( permanent redirect )

Http code 302 (temporary redirect)


Http code 401 (unauthorized)


Code http 403 (forbidden)


Http code 404 (Not Found)


Http code 410 (not exist anymore)

Http code 500 (server error)

Http code 503 (maintenance)

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