A friend’s website’s Google rankings have tanked after their redesign. And I think I know why. Have a look at the status codes their web server returns when you request a garbage URL (a page that couldn’t possibly exist)…
#lwp-request -S http://www.randomcompany.com/dafsadf
GET http://www.randomcompany.com/dafsadf –> 301 Moved Permanently
GET http://www.randomcompany.com/search?q=dafsadf%20 –> 200 OK
A 301 followed by a 200. Oh noooes!
That REALLY should be a 404 status code instead.
Make sure that garbage URLs like http://www.yourcompany.com/aadsfadsfdafs return a 404 status code. Googlebot is known to request garbage URLs and to see if you respond with a 404 like you’re supposed to. If you don’t, your quality score goes down the tubes.