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Remove redirects quickly in a post-Panda world?

 8:03 am on Dec 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

In general I have always believed that if you can keep a redirect in place indefinitely there is no harm in doing so. To some degree that might still be true today if, for example, you redirect a quality page or domain with a lot of incoming links. But what about lower quality content?

Scenario: You find 5 pages on your site with few incoming links and an obvious panda penalty judging from analytics. You set about creating a new quality page that better serves visitors and you redirect all 5 pages to your new wonderful goodness.

Do you - leave the redirects from low quality penalized pages in place indefinitely? Pro - no lost visitors, Con - you tell Google the low quality url is still on your site.

or do you - leave the redirects in place just long enough to see the old url disappear from google/bing/yahoo? Pro - you tell search that the low quality url is gone with a 404. Pro - the redirect was in place long enough to ensure that image credit on the old urls is moved to the new in image search. Con - the few incoming links that *might* have brought the occasional visitor will now return 404.

I'm leaning towards quick removal at this point. I don't want to send the message to search that my low quality urls still exist which is what happens when they redirect instead of disappear. I don't want to start out with a 404 until they drop from search because I want search to redirect image credit too, in case someone clicks on "visit page" or whatnot. What do you think? Post Panda - is quick 301 removal better when cleaning out the junk?


Marketing Guy

 11:00 am on Dec 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Redirected some low quality pages to homepage / similar content about a year ago as part of a Panda recovery. Still in place, not had any issues with it.


 11:19 am on Dec 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

redirect all 5 pages to your new wonderful goodness

Google detects this as soft-404. I return a 404 with a 'were you looking for ...' link to related/new page.


 11:51 am on Dec 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

How about redirects for users and putting the pages in robots.txt so Googlebot doesn't know?


 12:37 pm on Dec 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

How about redirects for users and putting the pages in robots.txt so Googlebot doesn't know?

Google knows. A robots.txt entry causes the page to not be crawled completely but it will still be indexed. When removing low quality content that's not what you want.


 12:46 pm on Dec 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Another option might be a meta refresh with robots noindex nofollow on the page.

Or a bit of obfuscated javascript that ends up redirecting.


 12:46 pm on Dec 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Sgt_Kickaxe, are we talking about high traffic pages here? What sort of proportion of your overall Google traffic do they generate?


 3:09 pm on Dec 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

No claaarky, I'm specifically asking about "low quality" type pages that are indexed, have pagerank and receive some traffic but not very much and a new and better page is created to replace it(and four others at the same time).


 4:26 pm on Dec 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thanks. I've found that very low traffic pages are not significant in the Panda equation (on their own) so any of the approaches you've mentioned would be fine in my view as, even collectively, these 5 pages don't receive much traffic from Google.

I don't think you'll see any noticeable gain/loss whichever way you go. If your traffic is suffering due to Panda there are probably bigger fish to fry first.


 5:09 pm on Dec 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

I agree with claaarky. I leave my redirects setup indefinitely. Spend some time on Matt Cutts youtube profile page and you should find a couple of videos that discuss redirecting several similar pages into one main page that best represents that topic. The point being, he seems to endorse the idea of consolidating pages into one great page about a topic instead of 5 so-so pages about a topic.

This may come across as blindingly obvious, but when redirecting, try and only 301 redirect once. For example, if you have pages A, B, and C that are all about the same topic, crown one of them your king (say, C) and then redirect A and B to C as opposed to redirecting A -> B -> C. Cutts has warned about chaining redirects before.


 10:16 pm on Dec 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Manny - you don't happen to remember the name of that video do you - have had a look but can't find. Thanks.

Robert Charlton

 8:23 am on Dec 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

This may be the video you may have in mind, though I don't remember the suggestion to consolidate pages...

Is there a limit to how many 301 (Permanent) redirects I can do on a site?
Matt Cutts - Aug 4, 2011
trt 4:30
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1lVPrYoBkA [youtube.com]

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