Google’s John Mueller said spam links to your site wouldn’t cause the soft 404 errors that show up in the Google Search Console. Honestly, I’ve never heard of this theory before, so it’s new, and I thought I’d share it. But I don’t fully understand why anyone thinks spam links cause soft 404 disks.
I think if your 404 processing is not successful and someone sends a lot of fake links to your domain but not to the actual URLs on your site. Googlebot then tries to use the links and then sees a soft 404 instead of a real 404. But you should serve real 404 errors for URLs that are not on your site, you should not serve 200 status codes, they should be 404.
John said Twitter “No, spam links don’t cause soft 404 files.”
Here are the Tweets:
The Google Soft 404 error is back @JohnMu @searchliaison? I see a huge spike across multiple domains. Individual pages disappear, URL checker hits or is missing “Something went wrong. If the problem persists, try again in a few hours.” Is this completely resolved for you @jsilton? pic.twitter.com/qmJMTJJ3XF
– Tom Rothwell (@trothwell_null) June 30, 2021
No, spam links do not cause soft 404 files. I’m considering posting details to the help discussion groups so people there can watch and give feedback.
– 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) July 1, 2021
Forum discussion Twitter.