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Deleting an old page on your website, or removing one to make space for a new replacement seems like such a simple action. But it could set in motion a whole range of problems that can hurt your businesses online exposure.
5 reasons to think twice before just deleting a page on your website
- Think about people who might have bookmarked the page you’re about to delete. How about people clicking through from Google Ads or Google Organic search results? Do you really want these people to be served up a dreaded 404 – page not found error? Because that’s exactly what will happen unless you take specific action to avoid this happening.
- What will prospective customers think when they’re dropped on an error 404 page? Is it going to give them a great first impression of your business. Not at all. A large proportion will simply hit the back button and move on to check out your competitors and do business with them instead. Naturally, that’s not what you want at all.
- To make matters worse, it won’t just be website visitors (including new and existing customers) who are are being dropped on an error 404 – page not found error page. Googlebot, Google’s web crawler for ads and organic search results, along with every other web crawler trying to index your website and make it accessible will also hit the error 404 page. That’s not good at all, and will result in your listing being taken offline, often leading to lost exposure, less clicks and quite likely lost business.
- This will do harm to your Google Ads Advertising, requiring your campaign manager to have to manually re-program every final URL pointing to that page, which then takes time for Google to process as well, meaning more down time, and this may well have impacts on Google Quality Score, cost per click, conversion rate and ROI as well. And there will likely be negative impacts as well on your organic search results as well, which may take months to recover from (if at all).
- Quite often there will also be other pages on your website that link to this same page as well, perhaps as a part of your menu system, text based body links, buttons and so on. And do you really want all these people hitting a 404 error page, and getting a bad impression of your business?
So what’s the solution?
- Don’t delete pages from your website unless it’s absolutely necessary. Instead, update and improve your existing pages to keep these current. That way the page address will not change, and you can completely avoid all the problems that come with a 404 page not found error.
- If it’s absolutely necessary that you delete or move an old page, be certain to setup a 301 redirect. A 301 redirect will automatically and seamlessly redirect web visitors to the new page on your website, almost like nothing ever changed! If you need a hand with this, ask your website designer, they’re quite simple to put in place.
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