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Problem background:

I work in a project where the client has a blog and different guides built during the last 9 years. So there are thousands of articles. There are a lot of backlinks in online news articles and so on. The client is a leader in what they do and well known/cited.

There was a decision to move whole paths (~100) to other paths. Something like this:

https://mysite/en/myblog/* 
to
https://mysite/en/this_is_another_path/blog/*

What I understand:

To keep the trust, I need a valid URL pointing to the resource, even if it was linked 8years ago and may have no recent clicks. This must be either a 200 or 301.

My solution:

Add 301-redirects in the apache.conf to cover all the path changes. This is already around thousand+ links and will continue to grow. (I am aware that with regex this will be a lot less, in terms of lines).

My question:

Is there a way I can make housekeeping of these links easier, like remove old links without loosing trust? My naive view is, that a link that has not been clicked the last 2 years, has no more value. How should this be handled? Do I just add thousands of links after every relaunch to the apache.conf?

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    Leaving redirects in place forever is easier than setting up a process to determine if they are still needed. This isn't something that needs housekeeping. Commented Nov 5, 2023 at 12:12

1 Answer 1

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Do you have access to the webserver logs? If so, you can see if those redirects are even being leveraged since they are so old. My thought would be to get rid of those links that aren't being accessed on the regular. This will also depend on the amount of data you have access too...

My naive view is, that a link that has not been clicked the last 2 years, has no more value. How should this be handled?

This is my understanding as well. If that link isn't being clicked by anyone or crawlers aren't even using it in their indexing, then it shouldn't be something you need.

If you or your client have access to Google Search Console, you can also take a look at their backlinks report and see what is being captured. Depending on what Google tells you there, it could be easier to use that than look at the server logs.

Side note

If your client has all these guides, it might benefit them to continually update the same guide year after year (or release after release). That way there isn't a redirect sitting in the way of the content and search engines and you don't have the extra hop in the user experience.

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