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Our site is updated regularly, but a major overhaul took place over a year ago and so a lot of folders were added to replace the existing ones. Reason was SEO, meaning new folders had better descriptive quality.

As such, the old default.html pages have 301 redirects to new location.

Can they be deleted after 'x' time or should they remain? Low traffic site and unlikely anyone bookmarked them.

I get "no harm done, just leave them alone", but doing clean-up also has virtues. Also, is there a plus or minus SEO impact from deleting them.

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  • If you have access to the web server logs, you could check to see if those 301s are hitting anymore. Dec 12, 2023 at 13:56
  • No, these are pretty much ancient pages, no activity. Hence I guess to delete from that standpoint. Worry is will, say, Google go "whoa, dead page, bad site, bad!" And we all know not to upset Google, right?
    – SKidd
    Dec 12, 2023 at 16:06
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    If they are that old, it is probably ok to remove. You could check the back links report out of search console to see if people are linking to the pages generating the 301. If they aren't linked, and Google isn't crawling them, then it won't impact anything. Dec 12, 2023 at 16:21

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@A_Patterson has a good point about checking GSC for backlinks. An additional solution might be to just write a single rewrite rule using a regular expression that covers all of the redirects. It would allow you to clean up the redirect list, while keeping a redirect in place in case there are any requests for the old rule.

However, if these are really "ancient pages", Google and other search engines have already made them permanent redirects by now, so organic searches wouldn't be an issue. The only likely source would seem to be old bookmarks, or other links that GSC is likely to be able to identify.

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