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How to handle frequent deleted pages

2:22 pm on Jul 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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What is the best way to handle deleted pages? Should I 404 the page?

For example, in a classified site, ads are added and expired every day. What should we do with ads that are no longer accessible? Is it OK to 404 the page?

We do it this way, but Webmaster Tools report these pages as 404 errors, and on a busy site, this number is always growing. Obviously, these pages were linked from other pages on the site, and google is reporting these pages, but when I check the pages that are present on WMT, these pages do not link anymore to the 404 page. What is also funny, is that if I check the google cache of the pages that are reported in WMT, the 404 link is not there as well...
3:07 pm on July 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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

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410 is the better response. What would be mo better for you and your site would be when the ad is built a meta tag is added to show when the page expires and then a 410 response after that date.

8:41 pm on July 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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

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Closely related question: How long do the pages typically stay up? You'd definitely want to flag them all as no-cache-- but do they stay around long enough to be worth indexing at all? Do they auto-expire after some preset time, or do they get taken down manually?