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Redirect to homepage VS redirect to 404 error page

     

Varma

2:14 pm on Jul 2, 2012 (gmt 0)



I have a page that is indexed very long back. Now i want to delete the page. I have two options and want to know which is the best approach from SEO standpoint:

redirect the url to the homepage.
redirect the url to the 404 error page.

Please let me know which is better. Thanks in advance.

dstiles

7:45 pm on Jul 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member dstiles is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



If it's an SE or other bot give it a 404 or 410 (Gone).

If it's a human give it a redirect to a relevant page (home if there isn't one). That way you keep the customer on your site.

aakk9999

8:02 pm on Jul 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

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If it's an SE or other bot give it a 404 or 410 (Gone).

If it's a human give it a redirect to a relevant page (home if there isn't one). That way you keep the customer on your site.

If this means serving a different response depending on who requested the page, then this is not a good idea.

@Varma, there are many solutions on what you could do, and it would depend on many factors:
- has this page valuable backlinks? If so, it should ideally be redirected. If not, return 410 Gone (or 404 Not Found) with a friendly error page being shown.

- If it is to be redirected, then ideally it should be redirected to the page that is the closest to the content the original page had. If such page is the home page, then yes, you can redirect it there. If not, you can try to find another page within your site that is close to the page you are removing and redirect it there.

Third option is to leave the page, but replace its content, to be "on topic" of what the original page had.

g1smd

8:41 pm on Jul 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I have two options:
- redirect the url to the homepage.
- redirect the url to the 404 error page.

You do not redirect URLs, you redirect "requests".

Do not redirect to the homepage. This will lead to your site being flagged for having 'soft 404 errors'. You do not want this.

Do not "redirect" to an error page. A redirect will serve a 301 or 302 status code. You must return the 404 or 410 status at the originally requested URL.

If a page has "gone" then return '410 Gone' at the originally requested URL, and list some of the useful pages available elsewhere on the site on the page showing the error message.

dstiles

7:28 pm on Jul 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member dstiles is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



aakk9999 - works for me: always has. I think there may even be something on G that suggests it - but that was some time ago (if I'm right) and could have been removed.

You do NOT want someone "real" to click on a link that returns 404; far better to redirect them to a suitable page on the site where they can then make a decision. But always return 404/410 to a bot otherwise there could be problems (especially with the new G) re: duplication and other apparent no-no's.

aakk9999

7:56 pm on Jul 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



@dstiles
Cloaking refers to the practice of presenting different content or URLs to users and search engines. Serving up different results based on user-agent may cause your site to be perceived as deceptive and removed from the Google index.

Some examples of cloaking include:

Serving a page of HTML text to search engines, while showing a page of images or Flash to users.
Serving different content to search engines than to users.

[support.google.com ]

Also [youtube.com ] Matt Cutts:
There is no such thing as white hat cloaking...

lucy24

11:07 pm on Jul 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



If this means serving a different response depending on who requested the page, then this is not a good idea.

You could argue that you're doing this every time you serve up a custom error page. The robot merely records the fact of the 4xx. The human sees the content of the error page.

aakk9999

1:17 am on Jul 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



You could argue that you're doing this every time you serve up a custom error page. The robot merely records the fact of the 4xx. The human sees the content of the error page.

Yes, but it is bot's choice not to look at what he was sent alongside 404 response. If bot choose to look, it would be the same content (and the same response code) as what was served to visitor.

Bewenched

1:41 am on Jul 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



What I do is redirect all traffic to a 404 page that incorporates a search function and some of our featured pages as links.

GodLikeLotus

3:40 am on Jul 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



What I do is redirect all traffic to a 404 page that incorporates a search function and some of our featured pages as links.


Best advice I've heard in ages. Thanks Bewenched

g1smd

6:43 am on Jul 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



redirect all traffic to a 404 page

A redirect will serve a 301 or 302 HTTP response code.

Do not redirect! Serve the 404 status at the originally requested URL.

Varma

4:52 pm on Jul 4, 2012 (gmt 0)



Thank you all. I have learned many things from your responses. I will serve the 404 status at the originally requested url. Thanks again.