Is it Better to Use HTTP 410 or 404 For SEO?

When it comes to managing removed content on your website, the HTTP status codes 404 (Not Found) and 410 (Gone) are commonly used. Both codes convey that a particular resource is no longer available, but they differ in their implications.

Understanding 404 Not Found and 410 Gone

A 404 Not Found status code is a generic response that indicates the requested resource could not be found on the server. It's commonly used when the server lacks information about the specific resource, or the resource may genuinely be missing. This status code is suitable for situations where the content is temporarily unavailable, either intentionally or unintentionally.

On the other hand, a 410 Gone status code also signifies that the requested resource is no longer available. However, it carries the additional implication that the removal is intentional and permanent. This provides a stronger signal to search engines, indicating that the content has been permanently removed.

SEO Implications of 404 and 410

When a page issues a 404 response, there's a chance the search engine might revisit the page to ensure its invalidity. In contrast, using the 410 response code sends a clear signal to search engines that the page is not expected to return. This can prompt search engines to de-index the content immediately, prioritizing crawling more important pages on the site and enhancing overall crawlability.

However, it's essential to exercise caution with 410 codes. If used incorrectly, it can lead to search visibility issues. Therefore, choosing between 404 and 410 depends on your specific needs and intentions for the removed content.

Choosing Between 404 and 410

404 410
Use Case When the server cannot find information about the requested resource — it could be missing or temporarily unavailable. When content removal is intentional and permanent.
Intent Indicates that the content might return after a temporary absence. Indicates that the content is permanently gone.
SEO Impact Search engines may revisit the page for validity. Search engines won't revisit the page.
Page Removal May take longer for search engines to drop the page from their index. Strong signal for search engines to de-index content immediately.

This post was published by Daniyal Hamid. Daniyal currently works as the Head of Engineering in Germany and has 20+ years of experience in software engineering, design and marketing. Please show your love and support by sharing this post.