When we audit a website, we often find old and outdated pages. This problem is not uncommon for sites when new pages are created, and old ones get abandoned and forgotten. We recommend regularly cleaning up old pages for the best website performance.
An easy way to find outdated content on your website is to use site search parameters on Google to get a list of indexed pages. A site search is done by typing “site:yoururl.com” directly into the search box. For example, we would Google “site:unidev.com” to find pages indexed on www.unidev.com. From the links listed on the search engine results pages (SERPs), you can determine if the content needs to be updated, removed, or redirected.
When removing old pages from your website, you need to add permanent 301 redirects to relevant site content. If you don’t have updated content to replace the old, you will redirect to the homepage if someone tries to visit the old page URL.
It doesn’t necessarily hurt your rankings if you have old pages out in cyberspace. Still, if a potential client or customer found old pages through a search, it might leave a wrong first impression. They might not trust a company that doesn’t run its website correctly. Abandoned pages can become problematic and affect your SEO when you have broken images, dead links, or outdated technical content.
Pages no longer being indexed by Google don’t appear in search results, so a site search won’t work. If these pages have no other links to them from the rest of your site, they can be harder to track down. Web pages like this are called “orphan pages.”
Crawl tools such as Screaming Frog can crawl all pages on your site no matter their indexing status. Once you have a complete list, you can compare that to your website’s analytics to see pages with views or traffic throughout the history of your site. For a step-by-step guide on comparing your pages from Google Analytics to a crawl report, check out this article from SE Ranking!
If there are pages that have been viewed but are not being crawled, those are your orphan pages. If these pages contain important information, you can link to them from your website and sitemap.
You might also be in the process of redesigning your website or making significant updates. In this situation, you want to inventory your site content and structure, update, and redirect pages. Duplicate content issues can be addressed during this time also if you find you have two or more very similar pages of content.
Looking for More?
Here are a few more posts to help you audit your site, plus a list of our favorite tools:
- Sitemaps, Noindex, and Robots.txt
- Common Crawl Errors
- WordPress Plugins for SEO
- 10 Essential Digital Marketing Tools
If you are concerned about old or abandoned pages, reach out to our team. We can help audit your website to discover these pages and determine whether they need to be redirected or reincorporated into your website!