Your June 2017 Search Engine Bytes Digest
 by Kristi Hagen

What's the best way to take down an old WordPress blog post?

  • Sometimes I need to remove a blog post for whatever reason like if it's old or functionally irrelevant. And, since blog posts are typically linked together internally and may have garnered incoming links from referring sites as well, it seems there's a high probability that some of these links will get broken.

    So, I'm wondering is there any good way to take down an old WordPress blog post without generating a bunch of 404 landing pages for site visitors.

Answer:

First off, 404s are not going to hurt you with Google. That's a myth. People remove content all the time. Be it a few hundred or several million 404s on a domain, that's just how the Internet works.

Check out this reference: https://www.seroundtable.com/google-404-penalty-20720.html

John Mueller has a great resource on 404s that covers this in more detail. You should review it here: https://plus.google.com/+JohnMueller/posts/RMjFPCSs5fm

Now, what DOES hurt you with 404s is when they lead to "internal 404s" and yes, those tend to upset and confuse site visitors so you should do everything you can to fix them. But until you actually take a page down, it's hard to know where they're all located.

So, your first step should be to check the post for earned authority by running the URL through a backlink tool. What you're looking for is significantly authoritative links. If it has some, then you might want to leave the post up. On the other hand, if the page hasn't much earned authority, you won't really be losing much by taking it down.

If you decide to take the post down then you have two options:

  • let the post 404 (which is again how the Internet works)
  • or 301 redirect the post to something else

If you decide to 301 redirect the post then be sure to use our step-by-step guide, How to Use a 301 Redirect to Keep Your Pages from Dropping Off the...

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