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404 errors to Homepage?

     
12:49 pm on May 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Hello all!
I did a rebranding, [Domain A] -> [Domain B]. what to do with all the 404 pages?

1. [Domain A (404)] -> [Domain B (homepage)]?
2. [Domain A (404)] -> [Domain B (404 page + same url) - for example: xixix.com/page/bla

please let me know what do you think.
6:46 pm on May 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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404 errors to Homepage

NO.

Well. That was easy.
8:40 pm on May 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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If the domain name (logo etc.) is all that changes, but the page and directory structure of the site remains the same, then you don't want to return a 404 at all.
Just do a 301 (= "moved permanently") for the same page under the new domain.

Redirecting genuine 404s to the (any) homepage is also a bad idea, but that's really a different topic.
9:58 pm on May 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Longer version:
2. [Domain A (404)] -> [Domain B (404 page + same url) - for example: xixix.com/page/bla

If you're talking about knowingly redirecting to a 404 on a different site, that may qualify for the Top Ten Worst Ideas Ever shortlist. If you're talking about intentionally redirecting to some other site's 404 page by name, that definitely qualifies. But it's not clear what you mean by "404 page + same url". The 404 response and the 404 physical page are different things.

Redesign the 404 page at the original site, adding some enthusiastic information about "we've moved!" with links to the main directories at the new site. In fact, if you're closing down the entire old site, change the 404 response to a 410 and make a page for that. Humans will not know the difference, but 410 makes the googlebot go away faster.

This is all assuming that page-for-page redirects aren't possible. That's always the best option, regardless of whether you're dealing with one site or two.

:: belatedly realizing that this question was posted in the "General Search Engine marketing issues" subforum, and wondering why ::
7:41 am on May 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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1. but it's safety to do it? in the past month I installed plugin on my website that redirect all the 404's to my homepage in my new website.

2. the structure changed but all the 404's came from forums and all of them are mistake!
3. what about Google? is it ok from their side?
7:46 am on May 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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and about your question @lucy24 : i'm talking about -
if my olddomain was: old.com, and I have there page 'blabla' (old.com/blabla) and this page was 404. I will redirect it to my newdomain in same URL and it'll return 404 also. (new.com/blabla).
10:47 pm on May 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Oh, crikey, that's a third possibility and it's even worse than the two versions I thought of :)

If the request was a 404 all along, don't redirect it anywhere. But it sounds as if you are talking about specific URLs. Why do they keep cropping up as 404s? If they are former pages that used to exist and you removed them long ago, you should return a 410. Make a nice 410 page at the old site. This page can then include useful links to the main parts of the new site.

A 410 has to be handled manually. Your server won't do it for you, unlike 403 and 404. But make sure you have a user-friendly 410 page; the default is even scarier than a server-default 404. Sometimes you can use the same physical page for 404 and 410, but you have to declare them separately (ErrorDocument directive in Apache, or equivalent in Those Other Servers).

Edit: A page-for-page redirect is always the best option. If you know that a particular 404 request was intended for some particular page that really does exist, just not at the URL they asked for, then redirect it individually.