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I have a busy website which contains several hundred thousand event pages.

Due to their very nature, they expire once the event has passed, so there will always be more past events than upcoming.

I'm interesting in optimizations to ensure Google is indexing the future events over the past events.

We could add a noindex tag to any past events. It's a risk though as we have 100,000's of them and they all feed internal links to upcoming events.

Do we risk doing this and hope it pushes more crawling onto the current events?

As we have our pages marked up with Schema.org metadata that Google recognizes, will it already be doing this internally with out our intervention?

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In a word, no.

If the event is expired then 301 redirect it to the parent category.

i.e.

example.com/london/chess/archway-chess-competition

redirect to

example.com/london/chess/

That way you don't lose any authority and ranking that page as gained while it was indexed.

noindex removes the page from the index, along with any authority it had.

  • Cheers, we'd rather keep the pages live though for customers so 301 isn't ideal. Moz just ran an article about using noindex for old pages? – Ben Sep 12 '16 at 10:49
  • @Ben You should link to the Moz article - it would seem relevant to your question. – MrWhite Sep 12 '16 at 11:08
  • moz.com/blog/… – Ben Sep 12 '16 at 16:26
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From the now very old post Robots Exclusion Protocol: now with even more flexibility...

This information is treated as a removal request: it will take about a day after the removal date passes for the page to disappear from the search results. We currently only support unavailable_after for Google web search results.

  • @Ben, I am curious about your approach was and what, if any, success you saw? Did you go with unavailable_after and remove your past events from the index? Did/Do your analytics show a large number of organic traffic to your older events from Google? – johnsampson Sep 12 '19 at 6:59

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