Custom error pages

September 26th, 2006

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Q: You mentioned that having multiple duplicate pages could be bad. How does that relate to custom error pages??

A: It doesn’t normally. However, on occasion a web server is misconfigured so that the custom error page is not served up as ‘file not found’ respnose code of 404, but instead as a normal web page with the ‘everything├ó??s okay’ response code of 200. That will mean that these error pages will end up getting saved into the search engine├ó??s index – multiple times with the same content. This of course is not desirable from the search engine’s point of view, from the user’s, or from yours. You can check to see if this is the case by using the Server Header Checker tool at http://www.searchengineworld.com/cgi-bin/servercheck.cgi and then specifying a URL with of your site followed by a nonsense filename (e.g. http://www.toyota.com/asdfasdf if your site is Toyota.com).