How can I fix soft 404 errors on my online store?

ella1234
Visitor
2 0 0

Help! My Shopify store is facing soft 404 errors for all pages. Google is excluding them. Does anyone know how to solve the issue? I would appreciate any help.

Replies 6 (6)

Moira
Shopify Staff
2061 225 327

Hey @ella1234,

 

Welcome to the Shopify Community!

 

You can set up a URL redirect which can be used to redirect traffic from one web page to another. When you change a URL on your Shopify store, you can create a URL redirect to ensure your customers can still find what they're looking for.

For example, if you delete a product, you can set up a URL redirect so that when customers enter the URL for that product, they are redirected to a similar product on your store:

 

A soft 404 error occurs when a non-existent page (a page that has been deleted/removed) displays a ‘page not found’ message to anyone trying to access it but fails to return an HTTP 404 status code. They can also occur when the non-existent page redirects users to an irrelevant page, such as the homepage, instead of returning an HTTP 404 status code. This distinction is important for SEO because it determines how Google treats the page. Crawling and indexing is a process Google’s bots go through before listing your website’s pages in search engine result pages. When a true 404 error message is returned, Google’s bots don’t spend time crawling or indexing the page. When a soft 404 error is returned the page is still crawled and indexed.

 

Whilst we are on the topic of search engines, what steps have you taken to improve your search engine ranking so far? People who find your online store in Google are probably looking for products like yours, so they are more likely to buy something. One area of your store that can really help drive organic traffic is adding unique Meta Descriptions. Products, Collections, and Pages all have Meta Descriptions that you’re able to customize yourself, in the Edit website SEO Section at the bottom of their admin pages.


 

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There are a couple of things that you should keep in mind in order to have an SEO description that ranks well. You want to write the description as if you’re writing it to a potential customer, touching on descriptive words about the product and its use. A lot of the time merchants list keywords without any structure, thinking the more keywords the better - but this is not the case. We have a great blog with further detail on this right here.

 

If you have any questions please feel free to thread those below!

Moira | Social Care @ Shopify
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ella1234
Visitor
2 0 0

Thank you for your answer, but still I don't understand how to fix the problem, most of the pages are being excluded and honestly don't know what to do. Do you have any advice on how to proceed further?

Moira
Shopify Staff
2061 225 327

You can set up a URL redirect which can be used to redirect traffic from your pages that are incurring a 404 error. 

 

This means when a customer visits a page with a 404 error, they will be redirected to a URL of your choice:

 

Moira | Social Care @ Shopify
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- Was your question answered? Mark it as an Accepted Solution
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Nick_Hartnack
Tourist
7 0 6

Hey Ella

Coincidently, we're in exactly the same position. Up until June 12 everything was fine, then all of a sudden over a period of a month 354 pages on our site aren't crawl-able and returning soft 404's!!
The fix of a URL redirect firstly is a mammoth task and the URL is part of good SEO, so you now have to create one that isn't as good as the first. But secondly what suddenly happened over July, when for the previous 6 years those pages and URL's were fine?

Nick_Hartnack
Tourist
7 0 6

Hey Ella
Just to let you know after reading your post (and commenting) I have found the solution. It's probably in an app that you have that has some Malware. I found the solution here https://community.shopify.com/c/technical-q-a/submit-url-seems-to-be-a-soft-404/m-p/1639195 
I deleted the app (in my case Geo Locator Pop Up), went back to my Google Search Console, and re-submitted pages and job done, they started to come back clear (with green ticks everywhere).

Best of Luck!!

Moira
Shopify Staff
2061 225 327

Thank you for sharing @Nick_Hartnack, this is really useful to know moving forward and will help others who may come across this thread! 

Moira | Social Care @ Shopify
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- Was your question answered? Mark it as an Accepted Solution
- To learn more visit the Shopify Help Center or the Shopify Blog