• Matt Cutts reveals Google’s way to handle 404 & 410 Codes



    You must be interested in new webmaster help video if you have are in to technical details how crawler of Google works and how they interact with various status codes. In the webmaster help video, Google’s distinguished engineer Matt Cutts explains the difference between 410 and 404 status code and how Google interact with them. Both the status code means pages are not found.



    In order to make matter simple, Matt Cutts first clarifies the difference between 404 and 410. He said in that video,

    So 404 vs. 410 refers to an HTTP status code, so whenever the browser or Googlebot asks for page, the web server sends back a status code – 200 might mean everything went totally fine, 404 means page not found, 410 typically means gone, as in the page is not found and we do not expect it to come back," Cutts said. "So 410 has a little more of connotation that the page is permanently gone.

    Explaining how Googlebot interact differently when they encounter 410 page, he said:

    The short answer is that we do sometimes treat for 404s and 410s a little bit differently, but for the most part you shouldn't worry about it," Cutts said. "If a page is gone and you think it's temporary, go ahead and use a 404. If the page is gone and you know no other page that should substitute for it, you don't have anywhere else that you should point to, and you know that that page is going to be gone never come back, then go ahead and serve a 410.

    He further explained:

    It turns out webmasters shoot themselves in the foot pretty often – pages go missing, people misconfigure sites, sites go down, people block Googlebot by accident, people block regular users by accident – so if you look at the entire web, the crawl team has to design to be robust against that. So with 404s, along with I think 401s and maybe 403s, if we see a page and we get a 404, we are gonna protect that page for 24 hours in the crawling system, so we sort of wait and we say maybe that was a transient 404, maybe it really wasn't intended to be a page not found.

    In general, sometimes webmasters get a little too caught up in the tiny little details and so if the page is gone, it's fine to serve a 404, if you know it's gone for real it's fine to serve a 410," he said. "But we'll design our crawling system to try and be robust so that if your site goes down, or if you get hacked, or whatever that we try to make sure that we can still find the good content whenever it's available.

    You must have got idea of how Google crawler treats 404 and 410.

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