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Removing 1000 product pages at once - What is the best technique?

 6:34 pm on Feb 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

I have a client that needs to remove about 1000 pages (approx 30% of site) at once. All of the pages are specific products that are no longer in their inventory.

the site structure is home>>brand>>specific product

Should I just set up 301s for these pages that point back to the brand page? or is there a better solution.

They are also redesigning the site and would prefer not to have to rebuild these pages in the new design format, so just publishing the pages and removing links in to these pages is not an option.


[edited by: caveman at 6:54 pm (utc) on Feb. 11, 2009]
[edit reason] removed specifics [/edit]



 7:18 pm on Feb 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

1. Will they come back in inventory? If so leave the pages and just add a message as such.

2. Only 301 redirect them to another source if it is matching in content.

3. Are you worried about having to many 404 or something?


 7:24 pm on Feb 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yes, exactly. I am worried about one third of the site disappearing at the same time that there is a redesign. Should I just put a "page is no longer available" up instead? The brand pages do not have the same content as the product pages. Additionally, in some cases, we will be dropping all 10 of our products for a brand and gaining 10 new products.

Also, I want to preserve links in to these specific pages if at all possible. These will never come back in to inventory. The pages are dead. What should I do? Could I be penalized for too many 404s at once? I never know whether to believe that or not.


 7:41 pm on Feb 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Well I only 301 redirect if the destination page matches the old pages content. If not then I let the page die.


 7:45 pm on Feb 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

but do you think that killing off this many pages at once could be harmful? What about links in to these pages?


 8:52 pm on Feb 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

What about 410s for the pages that are going away. Can you have too many 410s?


 9:24 pm on Feb 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

I have killed that many pages before without issue. Doesnt mean you wont have issues. Why not kill a handful at a time if you are worried.


 9:44 pm on Feb 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

b/c as they are launching a new site design, they don't want to pay someone to propagate old data in to the new site just to take it back down...

don't look at me.. i just jumped in on this. Good thing I did before they rolled live with their old version of the new site. Totally new file structure was designed and they had never even heard of a 301 before... They were about to flush 6 years of aged pages down the toilet.


 3:09 pm on Feb 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'd return a 200 status with "[Product Title] discontinued" and a link to the brand page. If its not too much trouble (read: expense), dynamically generate links to the current* products for that brand too (statics will be a nightmare for maintanance for the next product refresh).

If you think ahead, 301ing dead pages will add up over the years, and you will look dubious with hundreds of 301s pointing to the same brand page. A bit bait-and-switch, TBH.

*Current, at any given point in time. So now it will be the 'new' ones. Next year/season it will those ones. You will need to have an index of current products, which should be possible with a half-decent CMS.

[edited by: Shaddows at 3:14 pm (utc) on Feb. 12, 2009]


 3:58 pm on Feb 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks, Shaddows... I like it. This is what I suggested ** BUT ** this would fall under the category of building a new page for each product as they are redesigning their site and want to avoid this.


 4:19 pm on Feb 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

No, it would be maintaining URLs (orphaned), and a single script building a dynamic page.

In very pseudo-code:

[Variable:ProductTitle] is discontinued

We do have new products available from [Variable:Brand; LinkVar:BrandFolder]

A list of their products are:

Assuming attributes such as [Product / Brand / Title / URL] are on a db somewhere, calling them is just a query away.

If not, I'd build one, or get a better CMS package


 4:42 pm on Feb 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

OK, but then how would we handle directing users to this page? Via some sort of redirect? Wouldn't redirecting 1000 pages to one page be even worse than any of the other solutions discussed? Maybe I am still confused. I appreciate your feedback.


 5:11 pm on Feb 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

Intead of the URL fetching a file, it will fetch a script. The script will be the same script, but using the URL it will be able to look up all the other variables, assuming you had a db table where the the 4 fields (Product / Brand / Title / URL) are stored in a record. I would imagine you could use your CMS to decide to serve a file or script (or have a script decide what to load- you would need a 5th field "current" which would be TRUE or FALSE)

Implementing the solution is outside the remit of this forum- try one of the scripting forums (PHP and the like).

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