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Removed pages and supplemental problem
A need for 301 redirect for removed pages
Abdelrhman Fahmy

 10:18 pm on Apr 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'm running an e-commerce website with hundreds of products, we're using an ASP-based Shopping-cart and the product pages generated dynamically. (like product.asp?id=XXX)

From a time to time we remove old products and add new ones, however when Google requesting the product page for one of those removed products the shopping-cart software will deliver a page with an error like "product not available" (the same error and same page for all unavailable products).

Now the old products pages shows at Google as a supplemental results.

And my first question is: what a kind of redirection or correction that we need for those removed pages. Do we have to change this error page with a 404 page?

The second question is:
I've noticed when running a search for site:mydomain.com that the (mydomain.com/) result shows as a supplemental While www.mydomain.com/ shows as a normal result with the correct title.
So do we need a redirection here,
Knowing that my site doing good in the SERP and show in first page for most of the targeted KWs.

Thanks in advance.



 12:21 am on Apr 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

The visible content of the "error" page can be customized or not. What matters is that the server returns a 404 http header - whether the page is the default or customized.

On the "www" issue, it sounds like Google has you indexed well -- putting the no-www urls into supplemental makes sense to me. Since you are doing well in the SERPs, there's no compelling need to put the redirect in place.

However, putting the 301 in place is not a big step, either, and it could prevent future troubles (although I have every hope that Google is finally sorting all that out.) Also, you may have some low level troubles from the split indexing that haven't crossed your radar so far, and with the 301 you could eventually see a gentle nudge upward if that's so.

Abdelrhman Fahmy

 12:56 am on Apr 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

The Server returns "302" and gives the "Message page" URL instead of the original product page

Abdelrhman Fahmy

 9:07 am on Apr 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

Is it better to return a " 404 Not Found" and then generate the custom "product not found message" from the ASP product's page itself instead of forwarding to the message page and without any 301 or 302 redirections.


 12:47 am on Apr 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

It is essential to return the 404 server header if the information that was provided on a url is now removed -- or you can use a 410 [Gone] to be very precise.

If there is relevant content elsewhere for that former content, then use a 301 redirect (permanent). The 302 redirect (temporary) can cause all kinds of trouble over time.

Abdelrhman Fahmy

 1:04 am on Apr 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Thanks tedster for the helpful and fast replies.

As I mentioned before that it's a one dynamic ASP page generating all the product's pages,

So does returning (404) or (410) for the specific product ID page like product.asp?id=XXX will remove the product.asp it self from the index or just the specific generated product's page.


 3:17 am on Apr 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Only that one query string will be affected.


 5:03 am on Apr 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think it would be better to return a 410 than a 404.

Google will keep a 404 in the index a lot longer supposing that the page does exist but has a problem

A 410 however seems to get removed from the index on the first crawl because the message is clear
410 - this resource no longer exists.

nothing is clear with google algo but I belive that several 404 pages on a site can hurt ranking because it is viewed as a site that is not being maintained.
go with 410 - Gone

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