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Pages come, pages go. Bad for Google?
ferly_man




msg:4206130
 11:53 pm on Sep 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

I own/operate a real estate website that takes feeds in from other sites.

Currently on my site:

As homes are sold, that listing is taken off the site since it is no longer on the market. As new homes are put up for sale, they are added to my site. Rinse and repeat, over and over and over again.

Some listings stay on my site long enough to be indexed by Google, but here lies the "problem": all these pages (listings) coming, and more importantly going (adding content is not usually the problem), Google now sees all these indexed pages as gone. How big a problem is this? As of right now I have added a 301 permanent redirect header to pages with listings that have been removed from the site. These numbers can be in the thousands in a matter of days. If it were only one or two, no big deal, but 1,000+ at any given time!?

Am I handling this correctly by simply adding a 301 redirect to the missing pages, which redirects users (and crawlers) to a page up the hierarchy? Could I be handling this better?

It's tricky because if somebody sells their house, I can't keep it up on the site.

I hope that all makes sense.

Thank you in advance!

 

aristotle




msg:4206278
 9:58 am on Sep 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

I've seen speculation that excessive numbers of redirects on a site could hurt its Google rankings, but don't know if it's true. As an alternative, you might consider putting a noindex metatag in the headers of these pages to prevent Google from indexing them, then just drop them from the site without a redirect after the property is sold.

enigma1




msg:4206302
 11:38 am on Sep 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

IMO is the structure of your site that matters with respect to the products you carry.

Is like having an e-commerce store with only clearance items. You categorize the items so visitors can find what they're looking for, fast via categories easily, then you keep the item specifics available for humans only. There are many methods for that.

In other words you could force spiders to index categories only and rely on categories for your online marketing. Product listing pages can include a summary of the items and although their content will change often, the link and title will stay the same.

In your case you bid on the fact the customer searches for real estate in an area, price range, age, size of the estate etc., details than can be included with the summary in the listing pages.

projectmanuk




msg:4206347
 1:11 pm on Sep 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

So when a home is gone, why don't you put a sold stamp on the listing, while still keep it on your site? I would think that your ranking pages are probably the home page, and hopefully category pages you may have based on location?

ferly_man




msg:4206360
 1:27 pm on Sep 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hey, thanks for the responses guys.

To quickly answer the last post, when a listing is no longer in the feed, I have no way of telling why. I can't put a "sold" stamp on it in case it wasn't sold. Maybe they just decided not to sell and took it off the market. I don't want to be putting incorrect information up there.

It's a tough one since it IS almost as though they are a bunch of clearance items, ready to go at any time.

Putting a noindex meta tag on the listing pages would cut traffic significantly, and ultimately, the individual listings are what the users are after. However, you may be on to something.

aristotle




msg:4206469
 4:55 pm on Sep 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

You might replace these expired pages with something similar to a custom 404 page, with a notice that the listing is no longer available, plus a link to the site's home page. You could put a noindex, follow metatag in the header, which would remove the page from Google's index, but still enable it to pass link juice to the home page.

ferly_man




msg:4206495
 5:51 pm on Sep 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

That goes back to my original question/issue: how will/does, if anybody knows, Google react and/or treat hundreds, even thousands of 404 errors happening on a regular basis. I personally can't see it as being a good thing, however, I don't know.

tedster




msg:4206512
 6:38 pm on Sep 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

If you also remove any internal links pointing to those URLs, there's usually not a problem. I would suggest, however, that a "410 Gone" status is a better choice that "404 Not Found" in your situation.

ferly_man




msg:4206520
 6:56 pm on Sep 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

I was debating between a 301 and 410 header response, ultimately going with the 301. Both are permanent, but the 301 allowed me to redirect.

My traffic fluctuates so heavily because of the constant listings come, listings go theme the site has going. So much so that the page that the user is redirected to upon reaching a listing page where the listing is no longer in the database, is the highest trafficked page on the site, hands-down.

As long as Google is okay with the constant shuffling of listings, I can learn to deal with it. I just don't want to be constantly penalized for the rest of the sites existence.

tedster




msg:4206522
 7:01 pm on Sep 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

A 301 redirect to a URL that does not have mostly the same content - that CAN cause trouble if it becomes widespread.

aristotle




msg:4206548
 7:30 pm on Sep 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

You might replace these expired pages with something similar to a custom 404 page, with a notice that the listing is no longer available, plus a link to the site's home page. You could put a noindex, follow metatag in the header, which would remove the page from Google's index, but still enable it to pass link juice to the home page.


You misunderstood what I meant when I said the above quote. I wasn't suggesting a 404 error page. Instead, I was suggesting "something similar to" a 404 error page. It would have the same URL as the expired page, but with a notice that the information is no longer available, plus a link to the home page. The header would have a noindex,follow metatag.

ferly_man




msg:4206549
 7:31 pm on Sep 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

That's what I have started to think, too. This is already pretty wide-spread, however, it's not too late to make a change as things only stand to get even more wide-spread/larger.

I'm thinking I will go that route. Thanks for all the input, and if anybody has any more ideas or experience with a similar matter, I would still love to hear it.

ferly_man




msg:4206556
 7:45 pm on Sep 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

@aristotle:

Ya, I figured that's what you meant.

Placing the "noindex" meta tag on the page will still cause me to lose the page (eventually), and that's what I am worried about Google not being too fond of: pages coming and going on a very regular basis, regardless of what header response I return.

My thoughts are now this: I keep the page with the expired listing, thus keeping the URL in tact that Google might already have indexed, and just make some changes to it to notify the public that the listing is no longer available.

I can't help but feel that constantly removing pages that have already been indexed is the way to go. I either need to not index those pages to begin with (which I do not want to have to do), or just keep the pages around forever.

aristotle




msg:4206557
 7:51 pm on Sep 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

The reason I suggested a noindex metatag is to avoid a possible duplicate content issue. But if you keep the original listing information on each page, that shouldn't be a problem.

ferly_man




msg:4206559
 8:13 pm on Sep 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

I hear ya. I do plan on keeping as much original listing information as possible to help keep the pages unique, and to avoid, as you already stated, duplicate content issues.

steveb




msg:4206592
 9:50 pm on Sep 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

"I don't want to be putting incorrect information up there."

Then say "off the market". Your problem here is you are removing pages you should not. There is no harm, and plenty of good, in having pages on off the market stuff. the industry leader in this niche is the industry leader in part because of this very practice of not deleting off market pages.

No5needinput




msg:4206604
 10:23 pm on Sep 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

Keep the pages for - "View prices of previous homes listed in your area" (or similar) - Just a suggestion...

ferly_man




msg:4206610
 10:39 pm on Sep 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

I like the last two posts there. Thinking this is the best approach for such a site. Turns out, running a real estate website comes with a lot of difficult tasks associated with it .. this is just one of them.

Thanks a lot for all the suggestions! They're greatly appreciated.

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