Google responds how it handles a specific non-standard meta tag

Google responds how it handles a specific non-standard meta tag

Google’s Martin Splitt answered a question about how Googlebot responds to a 404 page value not found pre-render meta tag. It’s a good question because that’s the type of meta tag, a meta element non-standard, which is not often encountered, so it’s good to know what to do when something like this comes up.

The person who asked the question wanted to know how Google might respond to a meta tag in the header section that has the name “prerender-status-code” and a value of “404”, meaning page not found requested

The question was asked by a person named Martin and Google’s Martin Splitt is the one who answered it.

This is the question:

“Martin asks: What does Googlebot do when it finds ?”

Martin Splitt replied:

“Well Martin, easy to say, Googlebot currently ignores this status code.

I’m assuming it’s from a single page app that is rendered on the client side and you want to avoid soft-404s, in that case consider adding or redirect to a page where the server responds with a 404 status code.

For more information on this, see our documentation at”

What is prerender status code?

The prerender status code meta element (sometimes called a meta tag) is not an official meta tag, and there is no documentation in the Worldwide Web Consortium (, where the official HTML standards are created.

This is more of a proprietary or non-standard meta element. Non-standard meta elements are not part of the official W3C HTML specifications. Some non-standard meta-elements are browser-specific or created for specific purposes. Consequently, they may not be compatible with different browsers or search engines. and its behavior may not be consistent across browsers

The prerender-status-code meta element is an example of a non-standard meta element that also happens to be unsupported by Google.

Another non-standard meta element that Google does not support is the meta keywords element. There is no reference to and it was never part of the official HTML standards. It was a meta element that was invented by search engines in the 1990s.

The X-UA-Compatible meta-element is an example of a non-standard browser-specific meta-element that is a deprecated meta-element that was specific to the old Internet Explorer web browser.

This is an example of the X-UA-Compatible meta element:

Martin’s answer about the pre-render state meta code element is that many non-standard meta elements are not supported by Google.

Another thing to note is that not all meta tags are part of the official HTML standards that can be found on the World Wide Web Consortium ( website. These unofficial meta-elements are called non-standard meta-elements.

More information can be found on Google’s support page on supported meta tags, which was last updated on December 1, 2023.

Meta tags and attributes supported by Google

Listen to the Google Office Hours video at minute 3:46:

Featured image by Shutterstock/Jaaak


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About the Author: Ted Simmons

I follow and report the current news trends on Google news.

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