Google Seems To Have Fixed The Soft 404 Bug

A week or so ago, I reported that there was an issue with Google Search labeling real content pages as soft 404s, and thus not ranking those pages in Google Search. This bug directly seemed to have caused traffic issues for these sites. Well, that bug seems now to be mostly, if not fully, resolved.

I did ask Google for an official statement but Google would not comment outside of what has been said publicly by John Mueller of Google that I covered in my original story.

What seems to have happened was that some bug led Google to label pages that were ranking well and had real content on them as 404 (page not found) pages. This resulted in Google dropping those pages out of the index and those pages stopped getting traffic from Google Search.

Things started to improve a few days ago:

And as of yesterday, it seems things returned to normal:

Again, Google would not give me an official statement but this is what John Mueller of Google said earlier on:

I think you also posted on Twitter. There are some other other people who had similar problems.

With the other people I was able to pick up the URLs and send them to the team and I think they’re looking into what what is happening there. But if you want maybe you can just drop your domain in the chat here and then I can pass it out. Okay well if you want to send it to me in in some other way let me know, I am happy to pass it on.

I think the team has found some things that they’re looking into. But having more examples is always really useful.

As far as I could tell from from the information I have so far is it’s essentially a small change we made in the soft 404 detection and how that’s picking things up in weird ways.

John did add that the reason Google won’t go into detail is that it did not affect many:

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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