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Best practices for deleting and merging pages post panda

4:31 pm on Jan 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

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One of my websites was hit by Panda and it's about time to make a content reshuffle. Some of the pages are still getting quite good traffic and can be considered OK, while others can be categorized as bad pages.
They see almost zero organic traffic, suffer from very low page performance (high bounce rate, low time-on-site etc etc) and subjectively aren’t the best shot in the world. I want to work on these pages.

Say you have page A and page B and you’ve decided to merge them into one page + improving the content.
What are the best practices to follow? Obviously, there are two possible options, as follows –
  1. Deleting page A and page B, creating a new page, let’s call it C, moving the contents from A and from B into C. improving C before publishing it.[/li]
  2. Deleting page B, moving the content of B into A. improving/updating A. [/li]

Another question is to 301 or not to 301, or else to leave the deleted page get 404 or maybe apply 410.
Concerns are (my speculations) -
  • A 301 will pass link juice (if any) but might also pass its pandalization mark, because this deleted page still known to Google as a low quality page.[/li]
  • A 404/410 are “page not found”/”page gone”, but the page url still exists in Google index for a long period of time, which makes its content known for Google – might create a duplicate content to the new one created (page C or the updated B).[/li]

Note: It worth using URL Removal tool in Google Webmaster Tools. However, I am not sure how many urls can be submitted at once.

Any inputs, experience on this topic, and thoughts are welcome.
7:17 pm on Jan 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

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delete those bad pages, make url 410/404,

it will takes 6 months for googlebot to remove those pages from index database, you monitor index number in webmaster tools.

believed me, it is very hard for google delete some pages from index database.
7:44 pm on Jan 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I would for Google

Delete both pages and create new page and 404 the old pages.
8:40 pm on Jan 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

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You said these pages see almost zero traffic and in this case you do not have to worry about visitors. I would return 410 Gone for page B and merge it content to page A (assuming page A is a good page that brings traffic which stays).

If you want to be extra careful, you could merge the content from the page B (which now returns 410 Gone) to the page A only after seeing that Google has picked up 410 Gone for page B (you can check this in Webmaster Tools).

Doing it this way you would avoid a temporary duplicate content stage where Page A has been crawled and Google has seen a new content merged from page B, but page B has not yet been crawled for Google to see 410 Gone.

Although I must say that the "temporary duplicate content" stage has not harmed me, but this may depend on the site and on the scale.
9:22 pm on Jan 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

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If another site is already scraping content (in all likelihood this is the case) would showing a 410 give ownership of the content to the scraper site (and not the other page on the site where the content has been moved to)? Is ownership of content only transferred between pages on a domain if there is a 301 between them?
4:05 pm on Jan 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@ aakk9999
I think your answer gave me the right solution.

Plus thanks to all others.

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