|Popular product no longer available - 301 redirect?|
We have a product page that is pretty old (4 years). The product was very polular, not so much now but the page is well linked to. The product has been discontinued, what's the best course of action here?
(1) Take the page down & 301 to the new version's page?
(2) Keep that page but change the content to the new version? (so the URL is the only thing to remain)
(3) Keep old version up but advise customer no longer availble & point (link) to alternative?
The products are a VERY close match, the only difference is the brand! Both pages (old & new version) have existed side by side for around 12 months now, the newer version is also linked to but not to the same degree.
When I have a discontinued product, I do the following:
If it's at all possible to use a living URL (i.e. just /blue-widgets.html) that I can replace the old product with the new product, will do that. I also do that for events, for what it's worth. No redirection required. I might add a message that the product has been updated for 2013 if appropriate.
If there's no living URL (i.e. the model number is in the URL, or something else specific to only that product) and there's a replacement product, I 301 the old page to the new product, and add a line about "This product replaces Model #1234" or some such.
If there's no direct replacement, but something close, I might 301 it to a category page - that's a judgement call based on how likely I think it is that the category will do the trick.
If the product is discontinued with no close replacement, and not likely to ever come back, I let it 404 or 410.
Thanks netmeg. I guess my issue is what to so with the newer URL as it is also linked to? Drop one URL & 301 the other to the remaining URL? eg, drop blue_widget.html, keep blue_widget_newbrand.html & 301 blue_widget.html to it blue_widget?
301 it to the new page is your best option. The product is dead and there is a new more better product, what is there to think.
That's mostly my opinion too. I wouldn't overthink it. If you've got some really good links, you could contact the linkers and let them know there's a new and updated or improved page they might want to link to instead of the old one.
You'll lose some link juice initially, but hopefully if the product is good, people will start linking to the new page.
|You'll lose some link juice initially |
Is that always the case? We changed some URL's recently to make them more user friendly, we 301'd the old URL's. Just wondering how much of an effect this can have on ranking? I haven't seen any change in the pages position in the SERP's.
The last I heard, each 301 drops 10% to 15% of a link's weight, so there is some loss through every 301, but it's not a "huge amount" and enough to not bother redirecting pages.
Personally, I would make sure I sent visitors to the "new location" in the least amount of "hops" though, meaning I would make sure I don't redirect from example.com/old-page.ext to example.com/new-page then from example.com/new-page to www.example.com/new page, because those are "chained redirects" that could be handled in one redirect if the initial redirect went to www.example.com/new-page.
If you're on Apache and not "overly familiar" with mod_rewrite, it would probably be good to post your current ruleset in the Apache Forum [webmasterworld.com] to make sure nothing goofy is happening wrt chained redirects.
Note: The lack of changes in rankings does, "from the outside", indicate you've got things correct and the way you're doing thing should be fine, but a "double check" isn't always a bad idea.
Thanks, makes sense ;)