Junk Everywhere!

404 Not Found

by Thomas Hawk

 

Have you ever visited a website to find the ubiquitous “Coming Soon” page? I’m not talking about the standard “under construction” or placeholder homepage, I mean in either browsing the site, or typing in a URL directly, you stumble upon an “Under Construction” or “Coming Soon” page on an otherwise completed site. “Junk everywhere” is exactly what the users and search engines are thinking.

I used to make this mistake, and finally realized that there are consequences – SEO consequences. Obviously the ‘404 not found’ page standard was created for a reason. So, we can safely assume that having 404 pages isn’t always a bad thing. Take that a step further, we can further assume that NOT having 404 pages isn’t necessarily a good thing. This is especially true on a database driven site where inventories are constantly changing.

Imagine clicking a link to a car for sale only to find a “coming soon” page. From a user interface standpoint, if the car is sold, it should really say it’s sold. From a SEO standpoint, though, that same page should provide a proper 404 header so search engines know it’s gone. This ensures the page is not recorded and held against you by diluting your site’s true content. After all, you aren’t trying to get optimized for the key phrase “coming soon” are you?

2 Responses to Junk Everywhere! Post a comment
  1. I learn something every time I come here! I am still learning all the SEO issues but I don’t think I have any of those on my site. I never did. I think that’s the advantage of Headway, you can work on something and then hit publish. But I agree that there are plenty of times that people don’t complete their sites and leave you hanging…
    Julie Walraven | Resume Services recently posted..Can you follow directions

    March 7, 2011 | 9:26 am
  2. Agreed, a good WordPress site isn’t going to give anyone much trouble. It’s usually other software or custom-written sites that are the problem. Most of the time sites with tons of automated content (like automotive inventory or MLS listings) are the culprits.

    March 7, 2011 | 9:47 am

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