June 8


Before you Delete Pages Make Sure you Check or Redirect the Links

By Jason Khoo

June 8, 2020


Hi guys and welcome to another edition of Zupo SEO Talk & Tea. 

Today's conversation is making sure you check links or make sure you check the links or redirects on a page before you delete it. And that's a really important conversation because a lot of people when they're editing a website you have to move fast, you need to add pages, edit pages, you've got to move things around. Sometimes when that happens, people can forget the SEO implications.

Before we dive on in, I do want to introduce the tea we have today. Today we have green tea. This is the green tea I'll occasionally have on the show. I'm just a little bit of a different kind of green tea. Typically when I drink green tea, I like to have the more traditional Chinese style green tea, which is a little bit, I would say, like people think of green tea I think of a little bit of bitterness and that's kind what I think of it too, it's just that little bit of bitterness, not with such a heavy, negative connotation. I think of it just as almost like a calming bitterness, although that might sound kind of weird, or I guess like, it doesn't make sense, but it makes sense to me is that I like kind of that bittery kind of taste in my mouth.

But anyways, this tea is a little bit unique, it changes the bitterness a little bit. The bitterness is kind of there, but it has a little bit of sweetness to it, which I think when you say sweetness, people think automatically it's going to taste good, but it's an interesting mix and I occasionally will drink it, but it is not always my favorite, but I still drink it pretty heavily when I do green tea.

But let's go ahead and get on brewing and talking about changing links and all that kind of stuff. I just realized wrong teapot. There you go. So let's go ahead and get brewing. So when you are deleting pages or anything like that on the website, oftentimes when you do so you do it so quickly because you're trying to make updates on the site and you might have 10 other things you need to be doing, right? And so something that I want to kind of reiterate is when you're deleting pages, what people often can forget is the SEO value. And so what I mean by that is oftentimes when you're deleting a webpage, there can be links driven to that page. For example, like blog posts, a lot of people would like to delete blog posts or change service pages, and so the thing that's important is that it may make sense to you that the about page changed to about us because you just want to change the URL or services pages changed to some other URL.

That might sound obvious on the user interface level. Like, okay, this page used to be this, but now it's that. But for SEO purposes, everything revolves around URLs. So let's use a very simplistic example. Let's say I'm a pizza shop and then I have a service page, I put like pizza and breadsticks, we sell pizza and breadsticks. And then because of business upgrades, we decided, hey, you know what, we can sell breadsticks without pizza, if someone really wants to order breadsticks that's fine. So instead of on our page where we say pizza and breadsticks, we could do many different things. Let's say we decided, you know what, we're going to change, we're going to do pizza and breadsticks as two separate pages instead of one.

So what we're going to do is delete the main one and put pizza and breadsticks. Now that's intuitive I get that, but what can often happen is that for your website, sometimes you may be linking to that page. And now the problem is links are driven to pages on your site, specifically URLs. Now, if you delete that page and you put two new ones, all the links you've ever driven to that page will then be driven to a page that doesn't exist. Essentially, you almost lose the link equity. It will still be sent to your domain, but it's sent to what's called a 404 page, which essentially means nothing exists here. And so when Google sees the links driven to a 404 page, they don't like that, because one, they don't want their users to find pages that don't exist, that makes their search engine look worse.

So when link's being sent to a 404 page, they know that someone is endorsing passing link equity to a page, but that page doesn't exist. And so though your domain might help as a whole, they'll know that there's a page that doesn't exist anymore that has these links, but they don't know to associate it with what, right. So what's important to do is before you delete the page, you want to insert a 301 redirect, which tells Google, okay, though this 404 page doesn't exist anymore, what I want is that this page will now function as this page. So what you could do for the pizza and breadsticks page is 301 redirect that one to the new pizza page. And that way you can tell Google, Hey, I know that this page used to exist, but now we are permanently moving this to the pizza page. Therefore, all links and all traffic to that URL gets sent to the pizza page.

The benefit of that is not only user face, because of course you don't want users or links to be sent to a nonexistent page, but second, it then passes all link equity. All the work you've done, SEO wise will then get transferred over to the pizza page and Google recognizes the 301 redirect as a permit move and that's your way of communicating it. That way when you create new pages, what people don't realize is you simply start from scratch when you have a new page, if you don't do the redirects. But when you add the redirect it tells Google, okay, I'm moving it but that doesn't mean this is a whole new thing. What I'm doing is this is where I used to be, this is all the link equity and SEO value I've ever built, we're going to change the URL, that doesn't mean we're throwing this away, we're just moving it to this new URL, right?

So that's kind of the way I would kind of operate when you're redesigning a site or you're just changing pages, make sure you cross reference that. I don't blame people for making that mistake. Honestly, when I'm redesigning a site or making edits, you just want to make the edit and get on with your day, and that's understandable. But whenever you're doing edits, you do want to do a quick check to make sure all right how many links are being driven to this page and are we going to 301 redirect it. Otherwise, you might have a website that has so many 404 pages that it becomes an issue. So I would remind everyone, please, go ahead and check before you delete and move pages, the old pages on the SEO value, and that can be pretty simple using any SEO tool.

But anyways, I hope that that was helpful. But when you're doing your website edits, please make sure you go ahead and check back. If you guys found the video valuable and this information interesting, I would really appreciate you guys if you liked and subscribe. I'm going to go ahead and enjoy this green tea. It is relatively a cloudy day. Actually earlier today it was raining so I actually had to stop filming. Actually, it was right before I was going to start. This green tea is a little bit of a nice slow down, it's cloudy, get to enjoy some tea. So I'm going to go ahead and start enjoying this and I hope to see you guys again soon in another video. Thanks everybody. Cheers. Woo, yeah.

Jason Khoo

About the author

Jason is founder and CEO of Zupo, which is an Orange County based SEO consulting agency helping construct powerful long term SEO strategies for our clients. Jason also enjoys multiple cups of tea a day, hiding away on weekends catching up on reading and rewatching The Simpsons for the 20th time.

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