To delete a Webpage or Not? 2 Unique SEO Options To Avoid HTTP Errors
To delete a webpage from your website, it’s important to be aware that you are also removing appropriately ranked URLs.
Avoiding 404 errors
Have you ever discovered a 404 error when navigating a website? This result could have occurred for a couple of reasons:
- The URL never existed (Look at the URL example above)
- Improperly deleted page
There are two Google-friendly options to delete a webpage. The first is to redirect the page to an existing page on the website. The second is to mark the page as a 410, thereby erasing the content from the site.
Which is the best option? How do you implement the changes?
Analyzing the existing webpage
Before you delete a webpage on your website, it is vital to analyze if the content exists on another page. It may turn out that the page to be removed is better suited to redirect to another page on the website. Google is not a fan of duplicate content; it is always best practice to redirect a page to a stronger one when there is a potential for duplicate content.
How to create a redirect?
While there are several types of redirects, the most Google-friendly option is a 301 redirect. This type is also known as a permanent redirect.
Use a 301 redirect to redirect a deleted page to another URL. When you implement a 301 redirect, Google will automatically give the existing link value from the old URL to the new page URL.
The easiest way to create a redirect on WordPress is to use a WordPress plugin. Hubspot has created a blog post on the best redirect plugins. The SEO professionals at Algorithmic Global have been utilizing the Redirection and Rankmath when implementing 301 redirects. Both of these plugins are extremely user friendly and easy to activate.
Should I permanently delete a webpage?
After not finding any suitable pages where the URL can redirect, you may be considering deleting a web page. Ask yourself if an improvement of the content is possible before completely deleting the page. In some cases, we have seen a complete upgrade in content can cause the page to rank higher. If you decide that it is best to delete a webpage, make sure that you use the proper HTTP header, which is a 410 (content deleted).
What is a 410 header?
There is a clear difference between a 410 and a 404 header. In plain English, the difference between these two HTTP headers is that 404 means that the content is not found, and 410 means that it has been deleted. When a Google crawler finds a 410 page, they know that you have removed the URL on purpose and will then remove the URL from being indexed.
How to create an HTTP 410?
When choosing to permanently delete a webpage, we use our favorite plugin Rankmath to perform the job. This plugin makes creating 410 headers as simple as a few clicks. Please remember that the search console will still cite 410s as a crawl error. This distinction is something that we believe Google still needs to fix.
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