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I have a client who wishes to retire a chunk of old content. Aside from the technical side (redirects / nofollows etc), what is the best way to approach it from an SEO point of view? Is it ok to retire all the content in one go, or would that count against the site’s ranking? Is it better to slowly phase it out?

Best Answer

Things to look at before you even consider retiring pages:

1. Are those pages getting traffic? If they are, are they serving the user intention (the goal the user wants to achieve)?
2. Is there a way to just update the content so it stays relevant?
3. Are those pages ranking for the keywords your are targeting? If so, are you planning on replacing the pages with new ones that will target those search terms?
4. If retiring and redirecting those pages are the only solution to give the client what they want, has the client been advised that SEO is also a numbers game and decreasing the number of good pages in Google’s index might hurt the site’s visibility (impressions)—presuming of course that those pages are already ranking for relevant keywords? If they fully understand that and still willing to risk it, give them what they want 😅

Should you do it in one go or phase it out? Well this is just me but I’d do it in batches just so both the client and I can have a feel of the impact of retiring the content. Google might not deindex the old content right away (so 301 is for good measure) but you’d also want to monitor how it impact the way you help users. At least by doing it in batches, it would be easier to rectify should things so south.

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