TheMadScientist - 9:53 pm on Nov 11, 2012 (gmt 0)
One more addition:
The only reason I would try a 303 See Other is it's not an often used status code, so there's really no info on how G will handle it and it's something I might test in this situation, but my gut feeling is it's going to be handled essentially the same as a 301 or 302, because they kind of have to handle redirects as redirects to prevent 'gaming' or 'hijacking' like the 302 handling years ago resulted in, but there's also really no way of knowing for sure, except to test it in some different situations and this is one situation I'd be inclined to test and see if it makes any difference in handling or not.
Again, my gut feeling is:
It won't make a bit of difference.
BTW Bewenched ... From the posts of yours I've read, to me, it sounds like you're pretty well on top of things and do things the right way for the right reasons, so I doubt one soft 404 is going to tank your site ... If you had 100(s) of them, then it might be something you need to address, but again, to me, it sounds like you know what you're doing and do a good job of doing things for the right reasons and I doubt one soft 404 (or even a couple) will make a significant difference in your rankings, because it sounds like you do a solid job to me.