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Removed internal links to pages that are still onsite. A bad thing?

 3:04 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hi all,

Question from an ignorant non-techie here - please, be gentle with me. But my apologies if:

a) this topic has been covered before - I have a dig around and couldn't find anything exactly like it
b) this isn't the most appropriate section for this post - let me know and I'll repost it elsewhere

The Situation

I work for an online marketing agency working in PPC and SEO. One of our clients, in an attempt to clarify the navigation on their site, has removed navigation links to a large number of pages. The pages are still hosted on the site and are indexed, and feature links back to the homepage. But there is no way of accessing them directly through the site itself - you'd have to know the URL or follow an external link to get to these pages.

The Questions

Is this doing any harm to the site from an SEO perspective?
Would removing the pages entirely do any harm to the site? Very few, if any links point to these pages.
Would 301s/404s be a better way of dealing with these numerous additional pages?

Any help and advice you can offer is most appreciated. If I haven't been clear and you'd like any more information, just let me know! Thanks.



 3:43 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Anything that harms the ability of spiders - or visitors - to move around the site easily has the potential to do harm.

Either the pages are part of the site, or they're not.

So either link to them, or remove them, for the most effective SE spidering. If the client does not want an obvious link, then consider an HTML sitemap.

It sounds like a silly game based on some poorly thought out SEO 'trick' - but I've never seen the point of setting out to confuse visitors or SEs.

Orphan pages may not necessarily do harm; but it's hard to see them doing any good, either.


 4:09 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the response!

Don't think they are trying to pull any kind of trick, just a lazy way of hiding a bunch of pages without going the whole hog and deleting them.

If there's no harm in taking them down, then I expect we'll just take them off the site.

Any alternate opinions out there?


 5:20 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Worth adding that virtually every page has some SEO value - and is of interest to some human being, and creating an 'archive' might be a better way of dealing with them.

But they'll only be useful to anyone/anySE if they are 'part of the site'.

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