In a recent Google Office hours video, Martin Splitt addressed a question about how Googlebot responds to a pre-render meta tag with a value of 404 page not found. The question was posed by an individual named Martin, and Martin Splitt of Google provided the answer.
Splitt stated that Googlebot currently ignores the status code indicated in the pre-render meta tag. He suggested that if the tag is being used in the context of a single page application that is client-side rendered and the aim is to avoid soft-404s, alternative options such as adding a “” or redirecting to a page where the server responds with a 404 status code should be considered. Additionally, Splitt directed the individual to consult the documentation available at developers.google.com/search for further information.
The pre-render-status-code meta element is not an official meta tag and there is no documentation about it at the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C.org), the organization responsible for creating official HTML standards. It is considered to be a proprietary or non-standard meta element, which may not be supported by various browsers or search engines, leading to inconsistent behavior across different platforms.
The article also highlights other examples of non-standard meta elements, such as the meta keywords element and the X-UA-Compatible meta element. These non-official meta elements are not supported by Google and are not part of the official HTML standards outlined by W3C. As a result, it is crucial for web developers and SEO professionals to be mindful of the use of non-standard meta elements and their compatibility with search engines.
The key takeaway from Splitt’s response is that many non-standard meta elements, including the prerender-status-code, are not supported by Google. Furthermore, the article suggests that individuals refer to Google’s support page for supported meta tags, which was last updated on December 1, 2023, for more comprehensive information on meta tags and attributes that are endorsed by Google.
In conclusion, the article provides valuable insights into the response of Googlebot to the prerender-status-code meta tag and emphasizes the importance of being discerning when utilizing non-standard meta elements in web development and SEO practices.
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