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Obsolete Web Pages but with PR


cheesy snacks

11:52 pm on Dec 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hi I have a number of indexed pages dating back to 2004, some with relatively good PR of 3+

However these pages are now obsolete in that they relate to topics which are no longer relevant to today.

Im redesigning the link structure of my site and am wondering what the best way to go about this is.

Do I just delete the files? And let google re distribute my link juice amongst the other pages?

Keep the pages, perhaps simply change the title tags of these old pages to relate to something more relevant today?

The problem is I have 50 or so out of date pages, each with some small PR. Ideally I'd like the PR/link power from these pages to be passed to more up to date content within my site.

How do other webmasters deal with pages that are no longer relevant today but still have Page rank?

What is the best way to go about this?


Receptional Andy

12:06 am on Dec 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

cheesy snacks - personally, I think you're looking at entirely the wrong metric here. Toolbar PR is no indicator of either the current performance, or potential performance of your pages.

A brilliant article that no-one ever mentions gets zero PR, and certainly no toolbar PR. A terrible page with a strong link gets, at a minimum, toolbar PR.

Do the pages get referrals? Do others link to them? Is the content of relevance to your audience, even though it's old?

If you look at more relevant metrics, IMO you can make a better informed decision.

cheesy snacks

12:15 am on Dec 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Thanks for your reply Andy.

I understand that toolbar PR is no longer a strong indicating factor of ranking.

I've just this minute gone through a selection of my old pages and yes they do rank strongly in google some with grey toolbar, some without, but for phrases I could deem 'obsolete'.

For example, one page relates to a golfing event that is no longer on the PGA circuit. It ranks extremely well, but gets little or no traffic.

Basically I guess what I'm saying is ideally I'd like google to take the value of these pages and pass that weight onto other pages that are more relevant today, which will hopefully give them a push.

What do you think is the best way to go about dealing with a page such as this?

Receptional Andy

12:27 am on Dec 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'll be stubborn: I don;t think rankings are a very good performance measure either - as you say yourself, rankings and traffic don't even match up all of the time.

I'd like google to take the value of these pages and pass that weight onto other pages that are more relevant today

"Value" needs to be defined, and evaluated. From a pure search engine equation, value likely equals external links and historic performance.

If the pages only have "value" because you link to them internally, then you can just make other pages equally important, by changing how you reference pages. Then, pages you no longer care about automatically lose all value, and the decision is moot. If the pages have any other demonstrable value, then you might just keep them as they are, archive them, or redirect them.

cheesy snacks

12:44 am on Dec 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

So would you say I could simply leave these pages in the index and just change the internal links which point to them? They only rank well due to my internal link structure.

I guess what I'm asking is do I
1)amend my robots file so google does not crawl these pages.
2)no follow the pages themselves,
3)delete them from my server
4)do nothing and keep adding new pages


I guess Im answering my own question here but I take it I'd just change the internal link structure to 'not include' these pages and let google take its natural path of indexing.

Receptional Andy

12:53 am on Dec 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

If some of the content has potential, then you could always resurrect it - raise it's profile, re-work it, or both. Otherwise you could delete it, devalue it or redirect it.

If you think the content has zero or minimal value, then I would either drop (404) it, or orphan it, as you describe. I don't like orphans myself, but I've never seen any negative impact of them, either.


9:25 am on Dec 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

You could keep the pages, have an 'archive' index and list them there.

Then, on the 'obsolete' pages, you could have some links pointing to related but current topics- for your example, do you have a PGA tour overview it could point to? Or was there a replacement event?

That way your pages are not orphaned (but nor are they taking portions of your link juice), and any value they still have is being used to jive additional support to current pages.

I would keep the archive page, and the old pages without any nofollow or noindex tages, and I would NOT disallow them in robot text. In your PR flow, these become a small channel off the main river, but flow continues nonetheless.

Possibly there may be some disadvantage to this approach, but I can't see it.


11:20 am on Dec 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I don't like orphans myself

RA can you explain why you dislike this approach?

I have just reorganized one of my sites by doing the following:

-- moving obsolete pages to an 'archive' folder
-- 301 redirecting the moved pages to their new locations
-- removing internal links from category indexes
-- keeping links from pages that specifically discuss the obsoleted resource (i.e. reviews and articles)
-- allowing visitors to use the site's local search and find the obsolete resource by name
-- adding links on the obsolete pages to alternatives for the resource

This way, visitors who try to find the old resource by name are still being helped, and old pages maintain (at least part of) their keyword relevance plus juice flow to the rest of the site.

As far as search engines are concerned, those pages are now effectively orphaned. Reviews and articles that still link to obsolete resources are indexed chronologically and paginated using nofollow links to subpages. In time these will become orphaned as well.

Maybe I'm missing something, curious to hear what you guys think...

Receptional Andy

11:55 am on Dec 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

By orphaned I mean without any links, externally or internally. Time was when content without any links would drop out of Google eventually, although these days it's possible it will hang around for the more niche of long tail queries.

Generally I'd say content either has value (which is worth a link) has potential value (worth reworking and linking to) or has no value (scrap it and start again).

The implication of archiving (especially if the URLs change) and dropping links to content is that something has gone wrong structurally, or with the content itself.

I don't think there's any likely negative effect of orphaned (unique) content, but it seems like a missed opportunity to me. And I'm fussy ;)


12:32 pm on Dec 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I look at archiving as a chance to minimize the negative impact.

Imagine a product catalog: rather than deleting a page for some widget that has been discontinued, I'd prefer moving it to the semantically meaningful "discontinued-products" directory.

Robert Charlton

2:44 am on Dec 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

-- 301 redirecting the moved pages to their new locations
-- removing internal links from category indexes
-- keeping links from pages that specifically discuss the obsoleted resource (i.e. reviews and articles)

If you are keeping links from your own pages (which discuss the old resources), I'd suggest that you change the links on those discussions to link directly to the new archived urls. Don't 301 the internal links from the old addresses to the new ones.

The redirects should be for external inbounds only. Check for external inbounds with Yahoo's Site Explorer.


3:27 am on Dec 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Thanks Robert!

I was hoping that I could be lazy and get away with a single layer of redirection.

The links from my own content are created on-the-fly, so rather than 'blindly' generating the link based on the type of content and catching the 404's right before they happen I'll have to include an additional check for the status (current vs obsolete) of each widget page before creating a link.

More work initially, but probably worth it in the long run...


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