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Removing old content/pages.

     
5:28 pm on Jul 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Hi
I am doing some housekeeping on an old site. I want to remove about 50+ pages (off my 300 page site) that have old relevant content.

Do I just remove them all at once or do it slowly. They have some traffic although very little to want to redirect etc. I just want them removed. Will Google penalize me or will it hurt me in anyway to remove these pages all at once?

Thanks.
5:29 pm on July 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

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oh if you could tell me how to remove them, that would be great. is it just a simple delete it from the server? Again I don't want to redirect them etc.
9:26 am on July 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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if you "just delete them from the server" then a request for the deleted resource should normally respond with a 404 Not Found status code.

if you get anything but a 404 then you probably need to fix something.
even better if you can configure this to respond with a 410 Gone status code.

you won't get a "penalty" per se from google for removing these pages, but if you have any valuable inbound links to these urls you may lose some link equity that was passed to/through these urls.
10:58 am on July 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Expect the pages to sit around in the index for a while. For nearly a month now I've returned a 410 for about a hundred pages -- many of them are still indexed.

You could try the content removal tool in WMT, but Google does not recommend you use it for anything other than sensitive content that requires immediate removal.
9:59 pm on July 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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For nearly a month now I've returned a 410 for about a hundred pages -- many of them are still indexed.


have you checked your server access log to verify that googlebot has crawled those urls and seen the 410 responses?
10:27 pm on July 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I have. Googlebot keeps checking in. Same goes for Bingbot and Yahoo Slurp, but at least they've dropped the pages from the index. These pages have no backlinks, as far as I'm aware, so I'm not sure why Google is reluctant to throw them out.
1:55 am on July 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Thanks guys!

By the way if you want to know exactly what pages on your site is ranked for what term, try this...

Go to Analytic, traffic source, overview and click on view full report (under the list of keywords). Go to secondary dimension (a tab somewhere - search it out) and then click on traffic source and then landing page.
Then go to Advanced (search box) and add in the page you want to search up in the blinking box. Eg. default.htm and apply.

This should show you exactly what keywords default.htm is ranked for. And that way you will know if a page has any traffic or keywords that it ranks for and make a decision to remove it or update it.