Should I delete pages on my website?

Posted on May 15, 2010


One of the most important ranking factors on a website is the physical size of the website itself. The more pages it has (assuming those pages are full of quality, unique content of course), the more pages there are linking to each other and the higher it will rank in the search engines. SEO companies (the good ones at least) make a point of increasing the pages on their clients’ websites so that their sites get bigger, their internal link strength is increased and subsequently their search engine rankings improve.

However, what happens when you no longer need a page, should you delete it? For example, if your website sells time sensitive products, such as music singles, DVDs or anything that has a limited shelf life or you could run out of stock for, should you then remove the products from the website so that they cannot be found?

A retailer I worked for 10 years ago used to do just this. Whenever a product went out of stock and wasn’t going to be restocked, the product would be delisted from the database, removing the page from the website. This produced the standard ‘product no longer available’ message on the product page, instead of all of the content we, in the web department, had created. The product text, screenshots, videos, reviews and comments were all removed because the product was no longer available – and any links coming into that product were rendered useless.

This was of course the wrong way to do it – and I’m pleased to say they no longer do it this way either. All content added to websites, especially when the content features unique reviews and comments from customers, should be retained as it is all invaluable for search engines. Just because a product is no longer available is no reason to remove it from the website. Instead you can offer related products, or newer products, linked from the same page. This will allow the original content to work for you in increasing sales, instead of working against you by appearing as a broken link.

Content is too valuable to waste, don’t delete it.

Technical Director at Engage Web
Darren is Technical Director at Engage Web, as well as being a co-founder of the company. He takes a hands-on approach to SEO and web design, helped by more than 20 years’ experience in these fields.

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