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Should I 301 a 404 from a scraper site?

     
12:41 am on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm reviewing my GWT web crawl error sources (the links that result in a 404 error). I looks at these source sites. Lots of them are zombie scraper sites. I mean that someone registered a dropped domain name, and put a bunch of content and links on the site from other websites including mine. Some of sources have an old link to my website that results in a 404 Not Found error.

Do you recommend that I do a 301 redirect to the good URL on my site? Do these sites give link juice? Or, the opposite: will Google penalize my site because they might recognize the source as a scraper site?
1:26 am on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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In my experience these scraper sites generally have little to no link value. They also dont survive too long so it is not normally worth my time to 301. I also would not blindly ignore all 404s caused by scraper sites. Occasionally I have found some that were worth creating a 301.
2:58 am on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Excellent info. Can you elaborate on the last part? What makes a scraper site worth creating a 301 for you?
10:29 pm on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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some scraper sites use expired domains or re-purposed domains that have link value to pass. it is not common but i have encountered it in the past.
11:21 pm on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Interesting, I've seen a sudden rash of these scraper links in WMT as well. They only appeared a few days ago. Somebody messed up the code for their zombie scraper pages, because all of the links are in the same format and completely mis-coded.

I'm ignoring it. I expect they'll go away shortly.
2:04 pm on Feb 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

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To me a 301 says to Google "I acknowledge this url is something to do with my site, except it's now moved here".

A 404 says "not mine".

I'd never 301 any links from scrapers, spam links etc because I feel that by doing so I'd be crediting the link in some way.
4:27 pm on Feb 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

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For what it is worth I agree with FranticFish in that by 301-ing the link I'm giving credit to the link. IMO if the link 301s, a search engine spider will continue to crawl/follow the links on the scrapper site, which I believe may benefit the reputation of the scrapper site; as opposed to a search engine crawling the scrapper site finding hundreds of links to 404 pages therefore hindering the reputation of the scrapper site.

This is more opinion than fact so I'd be interested to hear other peoples opinions. I may be giving the search engines to much credit!
 

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