Whenever a user requests an incorrect or nonexistent website, the server incorrectly sends an HTTP status code like "200 OK" or "302 Found" to the client (browser).
When communicating between the client and the web server, the server sends a different response code than the 404 error code displayed on the user's screen.
There is no relationship between the website's content and the HTTP response from the server.
Why it is important
To prevent search engines from indexing this type of page and showing it in search results, it's important not to have them.
The user experience is also negatively affected by returning a success page with an error message.
Your crawl budget will be wasted on non-existent pages indexed and crawled by search engines.
Why the audit fails
Sitefig generates a URL with a random hash to force the 404 response.
Because we are expecting a 404 response, any other status code will trigger the soft 404 audit.
Both the body and the page's title are stored, and Sitefig will scan all URLs on your website to find potential matches.
If a page matches the same body and title and returns status code 200, the soft 404 audit will fail.
Fixing the problem
Make sure that the correct status code is served.
Servers should be configured in such a way that missing or empty pages should always serve 404 (not found) or 410 (gone) response (status) code for the page.
If a page exists but keeps reporting a soft 404, the problem might be with the page's content. In this case, improve the page content.
If the page of interest is invalid, you can redirect it to the correct page. You can do this by adding a 301 redirect to your .htaccess file.