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A client's website has the following structure:

  • /products/product-1
  • /products/product-2
  • /products/product-3

These product urls are keyword optimised pages for organic search.

Google also indexes /products however this page has zero content i.e. the 'products' directory has been set up as an extra step by someone in the past because they liked the look of it I guess?

My question: Obviously the blank page is bad for SEO. My preference would be to create new product pages without any directory - this is a hierarchy that I believe would improve the page value overall e.g. /product-1

In total there are around 25 product pages, which means creating 25 new pages and implementing 25 301 redirects from the old to the new product pages.

I'm worried that nuking all of the old pages would cause more damage than the benefit we'd get from this (not sure how important but I imagine page age is a good quality indicator).

Would I achieve less disruption to ranking by putting some content on the "domain.com/products" and use it as a 'content hub' where we give a little info of each page and include a link to each organic landing page? This would give the page a 'purpose' when Google crawls it, this would also be easier to set up as it's just adding content to an existing page.

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    You seem to already know the answer. a) it would be way easier to just make the products page a series of links. b) it might benefit SEO slightly to have all products linked from one page c) nuking the old pages would absolutely damage your ranking. – Steve May 28 '18 at 10:16
  • Google almost never indexes blank pages. Are you sure that Google is including this page in the search results? Even if Googlebot crawl the directory URL it should detect it as a "soft 404" and not include it in search results. – Stephen Ostermiller May 29 '18 at 9:21
  • Your other option would be to create a page at that directory URL. It usually makes sense to have a list of products somewhere on your site, that would seem to be a good place for it. – Stephen Ostermiller May 29 '18 at 9:22
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Why don't you benchmark rankings and then try the content hub approach first and see what happen? You may get a boost.

I personally am a fan of removing redundant steps from a funnel and the product pages would benefit from being a step closer to the homepage. That said, it would be disruptive and you would really need to be on top of your Search Console data to ensure everything migrated smoothly.

If you get no benefit from the content hub approach, benchmark and migrate would be my recommendation. There are plenty of case studies online that show the benefits of consolidation. Good luck!

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