A friend’s website’s Google rankings have tanked after their redesign. And I think I know why. Have a look at the status codes their web server returns when you request a garbage URL (a page that couldn’t possibly exist)… #lwp-request -S www.randomcompany.com/dafsadf GET http://www.randomcompany.com/dafsadf –> 301 Moved Permanently GET http://www.randomcompany.com/search?q=dafsadf%20 –> 200 OK A 301 followed by a 200. Oh noooes! That REALLY should be a 404 status code instead. Make sure that garbage URLs like www.yourcompany.com/aadsfadsfdafs return a 404 status code. Googlebot is known to request garbage URLs and to see if you respond with a 404 like you’re supposed to. If you don’t, your quality score goes down the tubes.
SEO Chatter says
Damn, you’re good!
I have been wondering about this. Now, I know. WordPress takes care of 404s. However, my other non-WordPress sites need to be updated ASAP.
Don’t you think that this issue is more related to Google’s request to hide search pages from Google-bot?