We have weekly hundreds of events and corresponding event detail pages. Those event detail pages are gone after the event is over but the pages were still returning 200-FOUND (soft 404). To make the matters worse, we were adding those pages in sitemap xml.
The situation now is that; we have thousands of pages indexed by Google all giving Soft 404 (200 - with no valuable content), and Google knows that.
We have recently applied following changes :
- Excluded event detail pages from Sitemap.xml
- Event detail pages are marked with "noindex" tag. Since those pages have a very short lifespan, no need to index them.
- Ended event detail pages are no longer returning 200, but 410-GONE. Excluded event detail pages from Sitemap.xml
What can I do now so that Google will pick 410 status for those pages and remove it from its index?
I'm thinking about creating a page with direct links to those pages to be excluded from index, and request indexing with the option "Crawl this URL and its direct links". That way, Google will try to re-index those pages and get 410. Will that work?
N.B.: The obvious optimal solution of keeping the event detail pages on the website isn't a possibility in our case.