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Should I use 301 redirect or 404 to finish off thin pages?

 6:51 am on Apr 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

should i use 404 or 301 redirect to finish off thin pages?

I personally prefer 301 redirect as it preserves PR.

What is the opinion of you guys?



 7:52 am on Apr 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

404 if page has gone; in fact 410 might be preferred.

301 if there is another page with very similar content.


 11:42 am on Apr 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

Do these thin pages have link from external websites? If they don't, then there is no link juice to save. Just fix your internal links so you aren't linking to dead page.

If the thin pages have external links pointing to them then why not improve the content instead of killing the page?


 12:57 pm on Apr 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

epmaniac, check webmaster central to see if any links are pointed at them. If yes, 301 those to a page you will keep and I would use a 410 for the rest.


 5:52 am on Apr 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

thanks for the reply.

In my website a supplier can post thousands of products... Now when they are posting products they have a tendency of using same PRODUCT DESCRIPTION again and again.

What should be the best strategy to handle this duplicate description across thousands of pages?


 6:05 am on Apr 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

That does sound like a challenge. I thought of two possible ingredients:

1. Require unique descriptions. This could be computationally intensive, especially at the beginning when you need to deal with already published content.

2. Have pages of standardized product descriptions that can be linked to individual suppliers (and be linked from them, too) if any supplier doesn't feel they can do the work of generating unique descriptions.


 5:23 am on Apr 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

About point 2:

Wouldn't standardized product description be duplicate across thousands of pages?


 5:31 am on Apr 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

Not if you link to a single description from the product pages ... Rather than putting the description on each page itself, you could put the description on a single page and link to it from the product page ... This could also be a good time to use an iFrame.

You could also possibly reverse what you are currently doing and rather than putting the description on all the product pages, put all the products on a single description page.


 5:45 am on Apr 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

How different are these products that are getting the same description? If it's like "red widget" and "blue widget" there should just be a "widget" page.


 7:04 am on Apr 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the reply.

What do you think of this strategy...

Normally product description is quite long. So I randomly select 2 lines from every product (each product throwing a random subset of 2 lines)....these 2 lines I display (indexable) on product...and rest of the product description is viewable on click which opens in iFrame.


 7:07 am on Apr 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

this solution would most likely give me 2 unique lines....and end user will also not suffer as they can read the complete description inside iFrame...

Would there be any disadvantage or demerit of using iFrame too much?


 7:12 am on Apr 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

When you've got all of these similar products, can you identify that they are similar? Is there anything in the database that associates them all together?

1,000 pages with 2 random lines really isn't any good. What would be good is one page for each "product group" that has the full description, but then links out to individual product pages with the main product group page being the canonical url.


 7:23 am on Apr 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

Actually the problem is that a particular supplier X posts same description is ALL the products, whether he is selling widgets or brownies.

I have canonicalized similar product... for example: except oldest red widget of a unique supplier x, all the later red widgets of supplier x are canonicalized. Similarly all green widgets are also canonicalized except oldest.

But other different products are also carrying the same description... for example: purple handkerchief is also carrying same description.

Whatever the products are, description is genereic like: please visit my website example.com, we are verified wholsalers..blah blah


 7:47 am on Apr 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

It sounds like a lot of your User Generated Content is user generated garbage. Maybe you need to tighten up on Terms of Service and moderating contributions. Make contributors toe the line or you just don't publish them.

[edited by: tedster at 3:32 pm (utc) on Apr 6, 2011]


 8:45 am on Apr 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yes I agree with you.

And I have taken measures to restrict future Product duplication.

What what should I do about already published content/ products?


 4:20 am on Apr 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

what about the already published products?


 7:03 pm on Apr 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

opens in an iframe

That's another issue to conquer.


 4:20 am on Apr 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hi, thanks for the reply..

Can you helpme with it and suggest a solution

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