Should You Noindex Empty Pages OR 404 webpages?

Michelle Race AKA ShelliWeb asked an fascinating question about SEO: she asked what is good for Google when your web page is empty. Should I index empty pages or should I let Google index them and treat them as soft 404s?

The specific situation is that you have created a category page, but there are no products on that page. While you wait for the product to be classified, what are you doing at the same time? Do you index it from Google or do you let Google index blank pages and treat them as soft 404s?

Michelle’s question:

John Mulller response:

Google’s John Mueller says it’s not important. John said: “I don’t think there is any obvious difference between the two methods. When things change (empty -> content), we usually get signals from different places (sudden internal links), so we can use it to choose to upload signals and crawl when necessary.

Now of course it is better to have a function so that it does not display any page without content. Before the page contains content, do not add it to the navigation and do not display it to users or search engines. However, in this particular case, content without content must be displayed first for commercial or technical reasons. Either way, John’s reaction is interesting and novel.

References:-

https://twitter.com/JohnMu/status/1382394182438944771

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