Sometimes web pages are no longer relevant to your business. Or you could have other reasons to remove them. But taking pages down could cause SEO or user experience issues.
What do you do?
In this article, I will cover why you might remove web pages, and how to go about doing it to minimize the impact to SEO. Feel free to jump ahead:
Why remove webpages?
What’s the SEO impact of removing web pages?
How do you remove a webpage?
Why Remove Webpages?
Outdated content is one of the most common cork bicycle zone reasons for wanting to remove a webpage. That’s logical when a page isn’t worth the effort to update or rewrite.
Sometimes, you may want to remove a webpage because it’s no longer relevant. Other times, you might need to remove an entire section of your website, for example, if you no longer provide the service the pages are talking about.
Of course, some website owners may need to remove content that is harming their site. But that is another topic.
SEO Impact of Removing Webpages on Your Site
When you publish a webpage, it can build SEO value over time.
If it gets links, has other ranking signals, and then ranks and brings in traffic, taking that page down can stop rankings and traffic.
If a person follows the link to your webpage from another site and the page no longer exists, they’ll get a “404 not found” message.
This can impact the user experience. The person will likely click away from your site (more lost traffic) unless you handle the 404 well. More on that later.
So you want to be careful about how you handle webpage removals. Luckily, there are easy ways to preserve the value of those pages so that your website and users still benefit.
How Do You Remove a Webpage?
When you want to get rid of an old webpage from your site, you have four options:
Update the content.
Use a 301 redirect.
Unpublish the webpage (and send any visitor to your custom 404 error page).