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    Deleting pages from a website


    I work for a printing company and we currently have around 44 product pages.
    We are looking to condense this to around 22 pages (there are some products we do not supply anymore).

    I need to check through keyword ranking and visitors for each page before we decide, but is it just a case of deleting the pages so that they show a 404 error or should I do something differently?

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thank you.
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    You should never just delete a page. You don't always know what kind of links could be directed to it. And the more pages and content a site has, the easier it is to rank for long tailed keywords and other phrases. You may be getting traffic from keywords that you don't even know about.

    But if you are certain you want to remove a page, at least consider 301 redirects to similar pages in the site. Cutting that many pages could really damage your ranking and traffic.

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    • roma64 agrees
    Last edited by DirectHits; Apr 9th, 2017 at 10:47 AM.
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    The products we have are all different so wouldn't be able to redirect using 301's as there is no similar page.

    If I was to remove the direct links in the navigation would that work so the pages are still there but not linked on the website (or is that a stupid idea)?!
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    If you don't want to 301 the pages and you want to remove these URLs from SERP, then you should 404 them, but it would be wise to create a custom 404 page explaining that you do not provide this product anymore and offer related products links in order to offer the user friendly way to browse your site
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    Thank you Pierre. Is there such a thing as too many 404 pages though?
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    Originally Posted by Pierre Benneton
    If you don't want to 301 the pages and you want to remove these URLs from SERP, then you should 404 them, but it would be wise to create a custom 404 page explaining that you do not provide this product anymore and offer related products links in order to offer the user friendly way to browse your site
    This is certainly new to me. I've never heard of intentionally allowing a 404.
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    Originally Posted by DirectHits
    This is certainly new to me. I've never heard of intentionally allowing a 404.
    I rarely do it, but it happened to me a couple of times to 404 pages on purpose to drop them quicker from SERP. Obviously, you loose the backlinks benefits, as well as the traffic if you do not create a good custom 404 splash page.

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    • DirectHits agrees
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    Originally Posted by Pierre Benneton
    I rarely do it, but it happened to me a couple of times to 404 pages on purpose to drop them quicker from SERP.
    Actually a 410 status code will remove a page from the serps faster than a 404. Personally I would use the 410 status code for pages if they are removed by the webmaster. 404's let me catch orphaned pages from a migration, or just plain misspelling of the url by the user.
    Both 404 and 410s are errors for a web page or document not being available, however a 410 is defined as “gone” forever. So 410s are more of an explicit response from the server telling you a page is really gone.

    Google handles them slightly differently. With a 404, and some of the other 4xx status codes, Google will “protect” the page and not mark it as removed for about 24 hours. With a 410 status code, Google will mark the page as gone as soon as the error is noticed by GoogleBot.
    Here is the article the quote is taken from. >>> Google's Matt Cutts Explains How Google Search Handles 404 & 410 Status Codes

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    • Pierre Benneton agrees : indeed, just never thought of it :D I'm such an idiot in certain situation... I'll think about it next time for sure.
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    Would it work to leave all pages up but to amend the top of them with something like:

    "Superseded product. Please phone or email us for a suitable alternative."
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    If I were you, I will just make an announcement on top of the product pages that you are no long selling these products. By this way, nothing change in your google ranking. Otherwise, neither "redirect 301" nor "404 page not found" will hit you in some way. Believe me, just don't delete any thing on your website.

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    • KnowOneSpecial agrees : Yes, Discontinued Product above the fold
    • DirectHits agrees
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    If you don't have similar products to 301 to, and are 100% sure you won't carry them in the future, then I would 410 (GONE) them
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    That is just a lot of pages to delete from your website. (When its half your site).Scaring me, lol.

    Comments on this post

    • KnowOneSpecial agrees : Yep, JackyN suggestion solves that issue
    Last edited by DirectHits; Apr 9th, 2017 at 10:55 AM.
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    Hi,

    I agree with much that has been said although I would try to stay clear on a 404.

    I would leave the product page up as an Out Of Stock item - let's face it, if that page is driving organic traffic then it would be crazy to stop that traffic coming in.

    A 404 will eventually be de indexed after quite some time (months) and that traffic will no longer be driven to that page.

    How about offering the customers the opportunity to use your site for another means.

    Leave your item as 'Out of Stock' and design the out of stock pages in a way that can retain that customers, think about offering users 'related items' or 'users also purchased' options.

    Comments on this post

    • roma64 agrees : Great recommendations1
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    I agree about leaving the product page as an 'Out of Stock' item especially if it's driving organic traffic. Your second recommendations (related items' and, 'users also purchased' are also great, and better than a custom 404 or a 410. For an eCommerce site, your recommendations are better!
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    Thank you for all off your replies, its not that the products are out of stock, we are just not looking to supply them anymore so using a 301 or a message at the top of the page wouldn't work.

    My website is royale graphics dot co dot uk if that helps?
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