I just notice that Googlebot has been crawling pages in a category that do not exist. Here is an example link:
This category only goes to page 11 so page 276 just shows the header of the site and some summary info about the category but no items.
I do not want visitors or Google surfing pages that do not exist so obviously I need to check my max page number before displaying the page.
I guess I could display a 404 since the info doesn't exist but that isn't very nice for a visitor that happens to stumble onto this page somehow (not sure how Google did since I don't link to actual pages in categories). One other thing, the number of items on a page is configurable if a user is logged in. So they could show 5 items per page or 20 which would affect the total number of pages. What is an acceptable way to handle this?
1- Just show the last page of the category even for a non existing page
2- 404 error
3- Do a 301 redirect to the real last page of the category?
What would be the correct way to handle this in Google's eyes while not showing the user some browser error page? I would think number 3 except the page never really did exist though but it could in the future if more items get added to the category.
Thanks for any replies
[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 10:44 pm (utc) on Jan 3, 2013]
[edit reason] delinked sample url [/edit]