- Sep 3, 2015
I'm still looking good
This was one of those stupid, vague, cryptic statements that another Google employee debunked on the same day, but the debunking never outpaces the #fakenews. John Mueller sometimes plays the same old ego game Matt Cutts used to play: "I know something you don't know, not because I'm smarter, but because I have access. But if I state it like a wise old sage where you have to unravel the riddle, then you'll think I'm smart."The current orthodoxy is that noindex will lead to (an effective) nofollow tag after some time.(if you believe this).
I feel like you deserve some kinda congratulatory trophy for defeating a black and white animal very publicly.@F5K7, they are technically "errors." Google expected content it knew about and got a 404 error instead. This is fine and not really an error, it's just where they place them in the Coverage Report.
After starting this thread I ended up talking about this issue in various places on the forum. Here's two posts you'll find of interest:
You asked what you can do to make Google know it's on purpose. You can throw a 410 error instead of a 404. You can think of a 404 error as "Missing" and a 410 as "Gone" (as in, yes, there was content here and we purposefully have removed it).
I never did the 410 method simply because I didn't want to deal with writing code for it. But with the 404 you may have to get the pages crawled a couple of times before Google says "okay, we get it, it's gone and we'll deindex it." Most pages will drop out pretty quickly and the final stragglers will take months.
There was a few times, since I had so many URLs, that I ended up filtering the temporary sitemap down to what was left so I could get a fresh look in the Coverage Report. This also helped get those URLs crawled again.
I never really updated what happened with this mini-project, but removing the 147 low quality posts, fixing a few indexation errors with categories, and then fixing around 700 blank URLs being indexed due to robots.txt... I got a full recovery as far as I can tell so far. I became convinced it was a Panda problem and treated it as such and it took about 11 months after the fixes were deployed to finally pop back up in the SERPs:
What do you think about serving a 410 for all 404 pages. That would be pretty easy to do and I don't see the downside.I never did the 410 method simply because I didn't want to deal with writing code for it. But with the 404 you may have to get the pages crawled a couple of times before Google says "okay, we get it, it's gone and we'll deindex it." Most pages will drop out pretty quickly and the final stragglers will take months.
I wouldn't do this. 404 errors happen ALL the time. The amount I have showing up in the Search Console Coverage Report is insane, and that's just the ones Google is deciding to report. People link to me in crazy broken ways, they make up URLs hoping a page exists, etc.What do you think about serving a 410 for all 404 pages. That would be pretty easy to do and I don't see the downside.
Yeah but the problem is this only hides them from the SERPs and doesn't remove them from the index. It's how I prolonged my own problem, trying this a couple times. You have to actually get them deindexed if you want to recover from any negative Panda effects, even if they're hidden from view in the SERPs from the URL Removal Tool.I'm not sure if this was mentioned already, but I was just doing something similar due to an affiliate link cloaking plugin. Old search console has a URL removal tool. I used it today and the URLs were out of the index in just a few hours. The downside is that it may only be temporary (90 days). You can do all urls that start with a specific prefix in one shot too.