[wp-hackers] Should Monthly Archive Pages ever return 404?

Stephen Rider wp-hackers at striderweb.com
Tue Mar 10 04:49:39 GMT 2009

On Mar 9, 2009, at 11:18 PM, Mike Schinkel wrote:

> "Lynne Pope" <lynne.pope at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Call me dim if you like, but I just cant see how creating virtual
>> pages for non-existent content helps anyone (least of all search
>> engines trying to index content).
> Consider the use-case where a page has a "Add your own event for  
> this month" link.

Such a page sounds like something made either by a plugin or a *very*  
custom theme -- either of which could then implement "empty archive  
pages" as part of the full functionality.

You've named some excellent examples of your case, but beyond the  
"hacked URLs should work" argument, none of them are core material.

In my opinion, the best *core* implementation would be to return the  
404, but *display* an "empty archive" page -- e.g. a page that says  
"there are no posts for this month", and links to the nearest adjacent  
months with posts.

 From the user end, this is a superior (friendlier) interface.  But as  
others have pointed out, we don't want Google cataloging archive pages  
that don't have any posts.  A 404 that looks like a "no posts" archive  
is the best of both worlds.


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