arthur22 - 9:58 pm on Aug 21, 2012 (gmt 0)
Just had an email from webmaster tools warning me about "transient soft 404 errors" on my site. The email says that the errors may indicate an "outage", but I don't think that's the problem.
The email gave some examples of the pages that are causing the trouble. The pages are all on the calendar part of my new forum. Originally I had the calendar open to guests as well as registered users, but then I shut it off to guests. And, of course, that means I shut it off to googlebot.
I'm using a very well-known forum software. The problem pages all return 200 codes (I've checked) and they all now have the same content on them - a message saying "You're not logged in, please log in to see this page" etc etc. The pages don't redirect anywhere, so they all have urls like mysite.com/forum/calender.php?787878 with differing strings of numbers.
So...I'm confused as to what is happening here and what google would like me to do. Why are these pages giving a soft 404 if they are returning a 200 response and have text on them? Should they be giving a 401 instead?