Soft-404s & your site

We call a URL a soft-404 when it is essentially a placeholder for URLs that no longer exist, but doesn’t return 404. Using soft-404s instead of real 404s is a bad practice, and it makes things harder for our algorithms – and often confuses users too. We’ve been talking about soft-404s since “forever,” here’s a post from 2008: for example. In 2010 we added information about soft-404s to Webmaster Tools ( http://googlewebmastercentral.