The question of how to handle expired content can be overwhelming to any SEO managing a website, whether it is a promotional, e-commerce or classified website. When it comes to the expired content, even something as simple as looking at the website’s Google Webmaster Tools account can lead to a great deal of dissatisfaction among visitors, particularly when the website has already reported a number of 404 errors. How would you handle the expired content of your website? What process are you mulling to manage the expired content?
What should be considered as expired content?
The content of a website that is relevant only for a limited time period is considered as expired content. For example, if the products sold on an e-commerce website change due to some reasons, the content associated with the changed products will be deemed as expired content. This is true with job search and real estate websites when advertised properties are sold or vacant positions are filled.
Ways to manage expired content
Similar to most of SEO solutions, the ways to mange expired content vary based on a number of factors, including technological capabilities and resources of website’s team. The following are some to the options to manage expired content:
1. The 404 error: Though a webmaster may find it easy to display a 404-error page in place of expired content in certain cases, displaying 404-error pages is not considered a good practice in most of the cases. 404 pages demonstrate to the search engine that the webpage is not functional due to some errors. In addition, 404 pages make a visitor quickly leave the web page after noticing its unavailability. The goal of the SEOs is to make users stay, browse the website and convert.
2. Custom 404 page: If 404 pages are not avoidable due to one reason or another, you should create a custom 404 page. Such pages provide an opportunity to convert visitors if they land on the page. In a custom 404 page, you can also include some links for other pages of the website.
3. The 301 redirect: Redirecting expired pages to another pages is the best option for SEO. It can be further customized to enhance user experience through dynamically-generated messages. In addition, such pages communicate to search engines that the website is up-to-date and well-maintained.
4. Leave the page on the website: Sometime expired product pages contain unique content and useful information for visitors. In such cases, you can leave the page on the website with message that the product is not longer available.
Keep a process and checklist ready to deal with expired content
The available options to handle expired content will differ based on the requirements of your website. Therefore, it is a good idea to create a process and checklist for handling expired content. Your process and checklist should clearly state which expired pages should be 404 pages, which pages should feature links to redirect visitors and which pages should be left as is. In addition, it should contain specification for your technical team to implement these changes.
About the author
Claudia is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on luxury and technology. She recently read an article on diy health that attracted her attention. These days she is busy in her research work for gizmowatch.