410 gone

A 4xx status code means that it is likely that a request error has prevented the server from correctly processing the request.

Specifically, a 410 error code means that the page does not exist. The error code is displayed when content has previously been located at the specific address that has been requested, but is no longer there.

How search engines interpret 410 errors

Search engines like Google will often revisit URLs that are linked to that report 404 errors. They do this to ensure that the page has not come back online at a later date and now reports a different status code. After all, there is still a link to that particular page, so Googlebot will follow it, finding and revisiting the relevant pages.

410 errors are a different situation. If Googlebot encounters a 410 response, it will not attempt to revisit the URL, even though external links continue to link to it.

410 is accepted as a permanent URL deletion

The 410 status code is the correct code to use for deleted content if you have no other relevant page to redirect the user to.

Google recommends the use of 410 status if you want to quickly delete a URL from your index and you do not want to use a noindex tag or the URL removal tool that is part of the Google Search Console.

The problem with “410 gone”

Landing on a page that reports a “410 gone” status is not conducive to a positive user experience. Usually, it would be better for the user to land at a comparable page elsewhere on the website.

However, there may be instances where visibility is undesired, or where you do not want a page to be visible to the Google index, or on your website.   If so, 410 is the correct status code to use.

You should not link to a 410 gone, as this will direct the user to a negative experience on your website. Therefore, it is important to update internal and external links to that particular URL.

External links pointing to 410 gone URLs provide no link value to your website. Accordingly, if you have many 410 pages to which external links direct, you should as far as possible try to reactivate the page at the relevant URL, or redirect it to an active URL.

How should you deal with 410 gone pages?

As with other error pages, 410 error pages need first of all to be identified and action must then be taken , on the pages which report 410 errors.

There may be scenarios in which a former webmaster has decided to use a 410 gone, but where you at a later time to find out that you want to reactivate the content that was previously available at the URL.

In such cases, you should reactivate the URL and place the content back on the page. Internal links  should then be reactivated again so that the page is properly crawled. If external links direct to the relevant page, the link value from these links will once again begin to count towards the total account for your domain’s overall authority.

It can therefore also be a good idea to scan your website to find 410 gone pages which could instead be activated. 410 gone pages may also have been configured by mistake, or by a webmaster who did not understood the consequences of setting this status.

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