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Noindexing old posts and links to them

     
5:28 pm on Jul 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Hey, guys! Want to ask you maybe a little bit novice question. I'm almost sure what will be the answer, but I still want to have opinions from webmasters who already did the same thing on their websites.

I'm performing a SEO cleaning of old outdated content on my website. I found a lot of articles that are thin, low quality, etc. I updated a lot of them, I also deleted a lot of them and gave 410 error. But I've deleted only those articles which didn't have inbound links to them.

The problem is that I have a bunch of articles that are thin and low quality too, but there is no option to update them. All these articles have a great inbound links and that's the main reason why I can't delete them. The question is will the noindex will be the best solution? How about links that are pointing to these pages? Will I lose the links juice effect in such case? Will be very appreciate for your answers.
4:15 pm on July 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Thin and low quality articles with great inbound links sounds like a bit of contradiction.

It was confirmed earlier this year that links to noindex pages are eventually dropped from Google's link graph. So if you disown the page you eventually disown the links to it and your site as a whole.

If the links are under your control or influence, and there's not many of them, then you could get the people responsible for them to update them to point to your newer, better content.

Or you could set up redirects from the old urls you have that are thin or poor to related / relevant urls that are better.
11:14 pm on July 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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What ^^ said. Have to ask ... why is it not possible to upgrade/update these thin pages? Is there something special that prevents that?
3:57 pm on July 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I can't update them because these articles are how-to posts which are related to outdated software (like Windows XP or Internet explorer 9, etc.). There's no way to update them.

These old articles gained links a years ago and now I need to make some decision on them. Is there any link on Googlers tweet or something like that to make sure that noindexing will kill those link juice? Will be very appreciate for it!
8:18 am on July 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I could be wrong, but I wouldn't expect these links to count for a great deal.

If it were me, and I couldn't get the owners of the links to change them to point to more recent and relevant 'how to' posts on the site instead, I'd add something to the top of each post:
- explaining that the content is for software that is now obsolete;
- when it became obsolete, and what replaced it;
- link(s) to pages on your site that deal with the current software.

This is the least amount of work, and gives users / Google somewhere to go.

Here's a post covering the announcement by John Mueller - [seroundtable.com...]
10:10 am on July 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Thanks a lot for answer, FranticFish! You've prevented me from doing harm for my websites.
2:29 am on July 18, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Excellent observations and suggestions from FranticFish. Google has long been encouraging sites to improve old pages rather than to noindex them.

To broaden the situation... if you're an ecommerce site, selling things that you once stocked, you might also be able to salvage the situation. Your page title should not misrepresent what's happening, though. So you don't want a title that says "Buy Acme 123 Widgets here" if you don't sell them anymore.

Whether a page title like "Acme 123 Widgets - product status and replacements in stock" or "Acme 123 Widget replacements in stock" will cost you visitors or gain you visitors is something you might need to test... but I'd do my best to make searchers happy, not to disappont them, after the click.

- If something has been improved under a different model number, that's almost ideal. If something has been directly replaced, explain that and link to the new model.
- If a chemical has been replaced for environmental reasons, explain that.
- If a model has been discontinued but is available refurbished, explain that.
- If replacements are as-is but inspected and unlikely to fail, describe the situation.

The situation will vary depending on what you sell. These need to be really good pages and to suggest to the visitors that they needn't search further. The title becomes a tricky part of it.

If you need to refer customers to another site, do that and make a deal with the new destination for the referral if you can.