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redirects?

site redesign

     
3:12 pm on Feb 3, 2018 (gmt 0)

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My site has been online since 2002 and now has over 8000 pages...many of those do not receive much traffic. I want to reduce the size of the site but am concerned about many pages that may be removed and any incoming links to those pages. What are the best practices when doing redirects for missing pages?
Thanks for your help.
6:39 pm on Feb 3, 2018 (gmt 0)

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You don't need to physically remove pages, they can be noindexed and still serve visitors and inbound links. Just don't have navigation links to the content you want to de-emphasize. Maybe not required, but I remove ads from no-indexed pages, since they also are removed from sitemaps.

I would only redirect if the content has been replaced by new content relevant to the topic. If you can't redirect to relevant content, it's better to redirect to a 410 (gone) - losing any inbound linking and possible visitors. This is not gospel, just what I'd do.
7:30 pm on Feb 3, 2018 (gmt 0)

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it's better to redirect to a 410
Which is to say: It is better to serve a 410 at the originally requested URL. (Just to confuse everyone, in Apache this can look like a redirect [R=410] if you don't know the [G] locution.)

If you haven't already done so, check GSC (the former Webmaster Tools) for “sites that link to you”. And then, if you think it's appropriate, check out some of those links in person and see if it's something you want to keep. Very often, you can tell by a quick glance at Google's thumbnail which ones are legitimate sites as opposed to, say, directories or second-order SERPs. Better yet, check logs and/or analytics to see which links are actually used.

You don't need to downsize just for the sake of downsizing. It's a question of whether the content is worthwhile, and whether it's presented in the most appropriate way.

Finally: If you go the 410 route, make sure you have a nice custom 410 page. In some cases you can use the same physical page that you use for 404s.
8:34 pm on Feb 3, 2018 (gmt 0)

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One of my concerns is that every so often I redesign the site to keep it fresh, and it can take me 3 months to complete the redesign. Too much stuff!
You can only do so much with search/replace etc. And if the pages/sections of my site aren't bringing much traffic anyway, what's the point.
Thanks for your replies.
9:41 pm on Feb 3, 2018 (gmt 0)

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You don't need to downsize just for the sake of downsizing. It's a question of whether the content is worthwhile, and whether it's presented in the most appropriate way.
Getting rid of dead wood has been the recent topic in SEO circles. Do these pages of little interest drag down your site? Some think so.

I recently removed 14 pages that were getting <100 human visits per month. Some had similar topic on another active page so I redirected visitors in that direction. Others were basically archaic and had no other relevant content anywhere else on the site to I gave them a Gone.
10:34 pm on Feb 3, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I recently removed 14 pages that were getting <100 human visits per month.
Well, that was kinda my point. You didn't remove them because you were 14 pages above some arbitrary ceiling. You removed them because you decided they weren't worth keeping.
6:31 am on Feb 4, 2018 (gmt 0)

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It depends on WHY they don't receive much traffic.

Is it because the topic is dated and no longer of interest to anyone?

Is it because the pages were optimized with SEO 1.0?

Is it because they're somewhat cookie cutter-ish?

Is it because the topic is relevant but the on page SEO could use some updating?