Let’s Discuss Old Material And Redirect Chains

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While checking out some concerns submitted to SEJ after a recent webinar, 2 of them protruded to me as related and similar.

That suggests you’re in for a reward, gentile reader, because today’s a special 2-for-1 version of Ask an SEO.

Here are the concerns:

Ines asked: What do you do with old sites that have hundreds of URLs with very little traffic to most of them. Do you get rid of the bad material initially? How much should I remove at a time? Is there a rule? Should I take internal links into account?

Christina asked: Is it much better to reroute old content to brand-new content if that results in a redirect chain? Or should I just erase that content?

Let’s Speak about Old Content

There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s dive into it.

I’ll get my pet peeve out of the way first: Ideally, you have dates on this old content, so that the readers who do come across it know that it’s old and out-of-date.

There are a couple of techniques you can take here, and a lot of it depends on your keyword research and data.

The very first question I ‘d ask myself for any piece of content is: Is this useful? Or is it hazardous (out of date, bad advice, no longer pertinent, etc)?

If it’s harmful or no longer appropriate, like a post on how to grow your Google+ following, you can just go on and erase it. There’s nothing appropriate to reroute it to.

If it’s useful, you’re entrusted to a few options:

  • Re-write it or integrate it with other content to see if you can get more traffic to it.
  • If you already have actually more upgraded or more appropriate material, go ahead and 301 redirect it to that material.
  • If it no longer applies to your website or service, proceed and erase it.

A great deal of SEO pros will inform you that if it utilized to be an incredibly popular piece with lots of external links you need to 301 it to maintain those links.

I’ll inform you to either find out why it’s no longer very popular and upgrade it or keep it up for historical purposes. It’s incredible just how much of the “old” web no longer exists.

The secret here is to figure out why the material isn’t popular.

Once you do that you can follow the below suggestions:

– Does it fix a user requirement however is just bad quality? Re-write it.
– Is it no longer relevant/useful? Delete it.
– Is there newer or much better content somewhere else? Redirect it.
– Should I preserve it for historic factors? Or is there simply little volume for that now, but I’m still getting traffic? Leave it alone.

OK, Now Let’s Speak about Redirects

Redirect chains get a lot of bad press in SEO.

There utilized to be a ton of debate about whether or not they pass PageRank, how much PageRank they pass, just how much decays, how many Google will follow, etc.

For 99.9999925% of people, none of that matters.

If these are things we need to fret about, they’re so minimal that they do not have much of an impact. The truth is Google will follow redirects and will pass some “value” through them.

There’s no negative impact or penalty from having redirect chains but aim for not more than five hops as Google might drop from following the redirects.

Sure, they aren’t perfect. They will include a few milliseconds of load time for your page, and they may not send 100% of the PageRank value through to the destination, but all that is very little and, honestly, over-thinking SEO.

When deciding if you should redirect or delete content, utilize the rubric above.

And as a best practice, if you have actually redirect chains, bring them to a very little by updating redirects to point directly to the final location.

For example, if you have A-> B-> C (one redirect chain), produce A-> C and B-> C (2 redirects) rather.

Hope this helps.

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