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Should I Recycle URLs, Or Create New Ones

     
4:42 pm on Jun 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Hi there, Everyone:

I have about 10 pages of duplicate content on my site (that I have noindexed recently).

I am going to replace the content on those pages, and am wondering if it would be best to reuse those URLs, or just use entirely different URLs for the content.

The pages have been indexed for about two years now. I am sure they ranked somewhere in the SERPs but were obviously outranked by the original sources.

Those pages featured long interviews (about 20 to 40 paragraph's worth of text) of experts in a certain field.

I would like to rewrite from an interview format into a "how to" format and condense them to the 5 to 10 paragraph range.

Anyone have strong feelings either way about whether to use the same URL or just use a different one?
8:30 pm on June 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Its probably just my paranoia but I make the assumption that Google never forgets and archives everything. Based on that assumption it is better to move on to new urls if you think an old url was penalized. That's just me.
10:50 pm on June 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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If you switch to new URLs, are you planning to drop the old pages or re-direct them to the new URLs?
12:38 am on June 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Its probably just my paranoia but I make the assumption that Google never forgets and archives everything.

Not paranoia. Webmaster Tools has shown me that G still has references to pages I thought were dead and gone from years ago.
1:12 am on June 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Hi there, Everyone:

@ goodroi:

...it is better to move on to new urls if you think an old url was penalized. That's just me.


I DON'T think they have been penalized / Pandalized, so I am not so concerned about that. They just never ranked particularly well, since they were duplicate content.

I think I am more worried that those URLs will be "locked in" to whatever google may have classified them as. I guess I just worry about their ability to move up in the rankings if they have a history of never really ranking well.

@ aristotle:

If you switch to new URLs, are you planning to drop the old pages or re-direct them to the new URLs?


Hmmm... if I switch to new URLs, I would probably either just delete those pages, or use a meta noindex on them (which I am doing right now). I probably would NOT 301 them, unless I discover that someone important is linking to them.

They might serve me well down the road as link bait, but any links to them would be going to a no index page, so I don't know how much page rank they will be able to flow to other pages that are indexable.
1:15 am on June 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Oh, and just to sort of give a little more info about the articles, they are basically philosophical lectures, and there are some nice gems of info in there, but they are LONG-WINDED.

So I think they have some value to visitors, but they don't convert visitors into buyers, and they don't get much social media love at all (they only have around two or three facebook likes in the two plus years that they have been up).

Now that I think about it, I wonder if I should just get rid of them and move on...
1:23 am on June 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Google never forgets... after 10-11 years I still get requests by their spider for pages that disappeared 10-11 years ago. If it makes sense to recycle the URLs with new content, do it... won't make that much difference since they were once duplicate are NOT NOW DUPLICATE... Google (and Bing, too,) has a very long memory for URLS. Might as well make that memory retention work FOR you.

If those URLS were to malware, scams, etc., ignore the above! Might not be able to recover from THAT!

[added:] I have, over the years, recycled some URLs with positive effect... just never tried to recycle ALL URLs I've dropped.
1:13 pm on June 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

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@tangor

I still get requests by their spider for pages that disappeared 10-11 years ago

Is someone linked to that page or is it URL in the text (unlinked) on some page?
2:27 am on June 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Pages never linked externally, and all internal link (as in ONE) to each page was removed when the page (s) were removed. These were pages that had a limited use/function for short periods of time and no value after that time passed. But I still get hits from G about every six months
1:50 pm on June 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

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LOL, you reminded me, my night club customer still gets occasional hits for a New Years Eve 2007 page long since deleted! Link to it long gone as well.
6:36 pm on June 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Hmmm...

so after reading through all this, I wonder if I should just create new URLs or re-use the old ones...

I am guessing that there is no benefit either way, right?
3:02 am on June 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I think the only real benefit is if the legacy URL had something going for it when it was live - something that's still there, like backlinks. If these URLs were tagged as duplicates of content on other sites, I'd pick a new one.
4:38 am on June 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Google archives everything, some people don't even know they have hundreds of thousands of pages. Affiliates who send bots to blank pages for example... TONS of url's get recorded but none show in serps, or anywhere.

I'd keep the old url and re-purpose the content to something worth reading, take noindex off as soon as possible.