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Due to the limitations of the content/menu structure of the cms driven website there were some pages that were of no real use (content wise) but were necessary for the structure of the site. These pages however accumulated some page rank. As part of the redesign these pages are no longer necessary. Is it ok to 302 redirect them to the front page of my website to channel the page rank? Or would G see this as something bad?
Is it ok to 302 redirect them...?
If you were to redirect an old page in a website to a new one, or to the default url of your domain, the proper redirect to use would be a 301 (permanent redirect), not a 302 (temporary redirect).
A 301 will send bots and visitors requesting the old url to the new url, and it will index the page content of the new url under the new url.
A 302 will send bots and visitors to the new url, but it will index the page content of that url under the old url. It's used for temporary redirects that might change. Without going into the issues deeply... a 302 can create dupe content problems for search engines.
When you use a 301, the original page effectively ceases to exist. Both the page content and its url are replaced by the new url and associated page.
...pages that were of no real use (content wise) but were necessary for the structure of the site. These pages however accumulated some page rank.
Pages in and of themselves don't accumulate PageRank. The only PageRank they have is due to internal or external links from other pages that have PageRank. But your (internal) nav links are going to disappear when you remove your old pages, so there may be nothing helpful to redirect.
When restructuring a site, I often find it simplest just to redirect the urls that have external inbounds. If you've properly rebuilt your site, the internal linking should sort itself out. A lot also depends on how much material you feel might have been bookmarked, and how similar your old and new structures are going to be.
Is it ok to... redirect them to the front page of my website to channel the page rank? Or would G see this as something bad?
Keeping in mind that you want to use 301s, not 302s... you get the most benefit from redirecting the old pages that have inbound links to pages on similar topics. Funneling them all to the home page is probably wasting some anchor text benefits... and, if you redirected enough irrelevant pages, might raise some flags at Google.
In your particular case, it sounds like there might not be any point in worrying about these pages at all, since if they had no real content, it's unlikely that they received any external inbound links.
[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 8:26 pm (utc) on Oct. 14, 2007]
"The page or directory you are looking for has either been renamed, moved, or is no longer available. Please use the links below to continue your visit. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused."
With the links, I include a very brief description of the page's content.
Just my 2 cents worth.
You ALSO need a user-friendly 404 that has a friendly message and useful navigation.
Finally, you need to thouroughly test the 301, ensuring that visitors not only go where they need to go - but that the page address in the browser displays the appropriate URL. Every time.
I am also thinking about slimming down the site a lot by collating a lot of pages into one page and using tabs on the single page to display the appropriate information. This would simplify the administration of the site and also enhance the visitors experience.
However, this could leave my site with only around 8 high quality pages, and I am thinking that this is not good with regards to G. Google likes large websites right?
However, if the alternative to a few larger pages is many pages each with very little unique and original content, then I'd go for fewer, larger.
But better to actually expand the amount of content over the site, using a good number of well-focused ages, lined by logical naviagtion.
Removing pages is never plan A.