How to deal with large quantities of expired pages
 by Casey Markee

How to deal with large quantities of expired pages

  • My classifieds site has a large volume of new pages that expire when the item posted is either sold, or times out in 30 days. This results in a lot of 404 errors. What's the best way to deal with this problem?

dead_end.jpg Answer: This is a common issue not only for classifieds sites, but also ecommerce sites that have products temporarily out of stock, product replacements and removals from the cart system.

There will be two main types of listings that you're dealing with. Ones that actually got indexed in the engines and have salvageable link juice and ones that didn't. The vast majority of your classified listings will not likely show up in the search engine index because they will not have significant incoming links. However, some will if the poster shared the listing URL on other Web sites. In this case, when those ads expire, you'll end up getting 404 errors when people click the listing from the search engine indexing the page.

If we're not talking about much traffic coming in from the classified listings, then the best solution may be to block that URL format using Robots.txt, which would prevent the indexing of the URLs in the first place.

If you are talking about significant traffic, or links to an expired URL, then by all means salvage it by 301 redirecting the URL to either a relevant page, like perhaps the category the original listing was in, or to a custom page notifying the visitor that the listing has expired with some options for them to take, like site search or quick links to other listings.

Another way you can combat this issue as a whole is the use of an XML sitemap...

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