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Question from an ignorant non-techie here - please, be gentle with me. But my apologies if:
a) this topic has been covered before - I have a dig around and couldn't find anything exactly like it
b) this isn't the most appropriate section for this post - let me know and I'll repost it elsewhere
I work for an online marketing agency working in PPC and SEO. One of our clients, in an attempt to clarify the navigation on their site, has removed navigation links to a large number of pages. The pages are still hosted on the site and are indexed, and feature links back to the homepage. But there is no way of accessing them directly through the site itself - you'd have to know the URL or follow an external link to get to these pages.
Is this doing any harm to the site from an SEO perspective?
Would removing the pages entirely do any harm to the site? Very few, if any links point to these pages.
Would 301s/404s be a better way of dealing with these numerous additional pages?
Any help and advice you can offer is most appreciated. If I haven't been clear and you'd like any more information, just let me know! Thanks.
Either the pages are part of the site, or they're not.
So either link to them, or remove them, for the most effective SE spidering. If the client does not want an obvious link, then consider an HTML sitemap.
It sounds like a silly game based on some poorly thought out SEO 'trick' - but I've never seen the point of setting out to confuse visitors or SEs.
Orphan pages may not necessarily do harm; but it's hard to see them doing any good, either.