Outdated content - best practice?
We run a service company that recently decided to abandon one of our main services. This service (section of the website) has quite a bit of traffic and inbound links from other sites. The section/service has several local pages (ranking for local searches of course) and more generic pages (ranking for more generic search terms). I am unsure of what the best solution is, so I hope to hear from you guys here:
1) 301redirect all pages to front page 2) 301redirect all pages to equivalent pages (both local and category-pages) within a similar service segment (but sill not a close segment - hairdressing vs massage) 3) Keep the pages, remove the booking functionality, and create a message that we "no longer offers this service..." and link to the equivalent pages in different segment 4) Is there a 4th option?
Option third looks better. Let the traffic flow as long as it flows. By time, bounce rate of such pages will increase and ranking will disappear.
Regarding option 1, with this step you will save Internet surfer's time and effort. As the relevant content is missing then the page should not rank. The first step will keep the link juice intact. It will be a socially responsible step.
And which one will Google prefer?
Option 1. The redirection of unwanted pages to the homepage will make homepage stronger.
If it needed to redirect the old links that have strong connections then you have to redirect them to the home page. This redirection method redirects all the links to the home page Google always prefer to be done this by the website owner. Cause it gives the most advantages to the website.
The re-direction to the home page option looks more promising.
Nevertheless, we suggest that you leave information that the service is no longer provided. After redirecting users, they will search for information about this service.