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Redirect Management: An SEO Beginner’s Guide



Redirect Management: An SEO Beginner’s Guide

Redirects are a critically important part of running a successful website, but too often there is little care given to the process of managing them.

Without redirect management, you may see important redirects removed, users redirected to the wrong place, or a loss of link equity for a site’s SEO.

Redirect management needs to be future-proof and resilient without becoming a burden for teams.

There are a few goals for a redirect management process:

  • Redirects and the process should be easy to maintain and manage.
  • Avoid redirect chains – single-hop as much as possible.
  • Enable analytics tracking or other visibility into usage.

It’s important to keep in mind the changes that will inevitably occur from stakeholders, to the technology stack, and to the web as a whole during the future life of the website.

One day in the future, it’s very likely the site will experience a CMS migration, widespread URL changes, change to media file locations, or top websites will begin using some new technology that will impact your URLs.

The change will also happen over time to the various teams responsible for:

  • Deciding what technology will handle redirects.
  • Creating, editing, or removing redirects.
  • Deciding what URLs should redirect to where (and why).

Certainly, there are many options and varieties of redirects from a technical standpoint, which all have specific use cases and anti-patterns – 3xx redirects, meta refresh, JavaScript, htaccess vs httpd.conf, etc.

In this article, you’ll learn about the management of redirects agnostic of the technology used.

Common Use Cases For Redirects

Although there are other uses for redirects on websites, three of the most common that require management for large websites can be described as:

  1. Page moved.
  2. Vanity redirect.
  3. Utility redirect.

Managing “Page Moved” Redirects

If an established web page is moved from an old location to a new location, a redirect needs to be in place to help humans and bots find the new location when they attempt to access the old location.

A human might have an old URL bookmarked, or they find a link to the old URL on a webpage or in an email, or they might see it printed somewhere and type it in.

A search bot may find the old URL as a link on a webpage or while recrawling its existing index of the page.

In either case, serving a redirect is the correct way to indicate that an item is at a new location.

There are perhaps two general types of “page moved” redirects: pattern-matched batches and single one-offs.

Batches Of Pattern Matched Redirects Are Manageable

If every URL on a site or within a directory changes in a consistent manner, then the necessary redirect rule could be quite simple and could be maintained practically forever with little maintenance required.

For example, if you moved your corporate Newsroom pages from “” to “”, and otherwise the structures of the newsroom URLs remained the same, then a single rule could handle all redirection.

This single rule is also not likely to be in conflict with new unrelated redirects.

During a future CMS or redirect management platform change, maintaining this and similar single-line rules will not be difficult.

A great benefit of using pattern match redirects is the ability to easily make adjustments in the future, such as editing query strings or changing the redirect pattern if another wide-scale change happens (such as the site moving to https).

Lists Of Single One-Off Redirects Become Unmanageable

If a single page needs to have a different URL or a group of pages need to have a different URL but there is no simple consistent pattern, then a list of 1:1 redirects is required.

For example, if you had a blog post with the URL “” and wanted to change it to “” and refresh the content for a new year (and creating a Durable URL), then you would need to create a single 1:1 redirect from old location to new location.

While a batch of pattern-match redirects could easily be maintained forever, one-offs are more likely to eventually need to be decommissioned.

In case your website moves to a new CMS one day in the future, or perhaps you run out of room in your redirect manager – in these sorts of cases the redirect might not be retained.

John Mueller suggests that for Google’s sake, redirects need to be maintained for at least a year when a page moves.

It would be good to keep this type of redirect active for multiple years, but that might not be possible.

It’s important, then, to have a way to know how long a redirect has been active and how often it is being visited when making decisions about which redirect to delete or maintain in the future.

Managing Vanity Redirects

The group of redirects often called “vanity redirects” or “vanity URLs” are shortened URLs designed to be typed in, memorable, and/or easily readable.

Vanity redirects are almost necessarily one-offs.

A common misconception from many stakeholders of a large website is the need for vanity URLs without a use case.

If the canonical URL of a product page on a corporate website is three or four folders deep, a stakeholder might request a vanity redirect pointing to the actual location.

This redirect doesn’t help users, though, unless they know to type it into their browser.

One timeless feature of the web is that users rarely if ever type a URL into their browser rather than clicking a link while using the internet.

The truly useful vanity redirects are the ones that a user reads or hears when not using the internet.

A magazine ad, a billboard, a podcast, or a radio advertisement – these are all excellent uses of a vanity redirect.

In these cases, a human needs to easily remember and easily type an address. “Visit to receive your free piano!” would be perfect.

If there is no need for a vanity redirect – if there are no plans for a magazine or a podcast ad – then it almost certainly doesn’t need to exist.

It will not help the site’s SEO or usability to have a vanity redirect that nobody uses.

When it comes time to migrate all redirects to a new system, these could become a nightmare of trying to figure out which are still required or not.

Managing Utility Redirects

Utility redirects are a type of often pattern-matched redirects that serve a technical or governance purpose.

Common utility redirects include:

  • HTTP to HTTPS.
  • Adding or removing “www.”
  • Adding or removing a trailing slash or “.html”
  • Forcing lowercase only.
  • Adding, removing, or editing a query string.

Because these are pattern-matched, these can be easily maintained and changed in the future.

It is important to carefully consider the order of operations when combining multiple utility redirects along with page-moved and vanity redirects – with the goal of having as few hops as possible along the way and easy maintenance in the future.

Utility redirects can reduce the number of one-off vanity redirects required, through automation and simplification.

Forcing lowercase, for example, can in some cases remove the need to create multiple versions of the same vanity URL.

The last thing you want is an executive at your company thinking about all possible casings of a vanity URL they are hoping to use in a podcast campaign!

Shortened URLs That Aren’t Human Readable

One class of redirect that sort of straddles the lines between Utility and Vanity are shortened URLs that are not intended to be remembered or easily typed by users.

These are often used for QR codes to reduce the length of the URL (thereby making the QR code more easily scannable), or by social media users to see how many clicks their shared links receive using or a similar platform.

For major websites, shortened URLs should not be required for analytics tracking although the QR use case may be supported.

Analytics On Redirects

The best way to understand how redirects are used is by appending query strings to the destination of some types of redirects.

Vanity Redirects, QR-Code Redirects, and One-Off Page Moved Redirects are all use cases for query strings resulting in analytics tracking on redirect usage. provides an example of using query strings on vanity redirects.

For example, redirects to

This enables Etrade to understand how many people have used that redirect over time and what sort of actions the users took after arriving on the site.

Analytics data on redirect usage can help a web team determine which redirects need to be maintained or could be removed, and which campaigns are generating the most visitors and engagement.

Analytics tracking on utility redirects, like HTTP to HTTPS, provide less value as a website is likely to keep these in place whether or not they’re regularly used.

These considerations should be used to establish a set of query string rules that makes the most sense for the website and team:

Indicate the complete redirect path in the query string:

  • Often slashes and dots should be replaced with hyphens.

Indicate the type of redirect:

  • 301, 302, JavaScript, etc are all possible.
  • Vanity, utility, page moved, QR, etc are all possible.

Indicate the date added.

Indicate the team responsible for the redirect.

Not all of this information is necessary to include in the redirect destination query string, but these are all possible to include.

After implementing query strings on redirect destinations, a team can then audit for usage on an annual or another cadence.

When a Vanity Redirect, for example, was created for a specific campaign that has run its course, and the redirect hasn’t been used for two or three years, then it’s time to stop maintaining that old redirect.

Redirect Anti-Patterns

There are many anti-patterns for redirects.

These may seem like a good quick-fix but ultimately result in more problems than they solve and should be avoided.

Some redirect anti-patterns include:

  • Redirecting 404 pages to a homepage.
  • Redirecting to a 404 error rather than serving a 404 error on a non-existent URL.
  • Redirecting to a redirect (chain redirects).
  • Redirecting and not updating the page that has the redirect link on it (internally linking to redirects).
  • Using redirects for A/B testing rather than manipulating the DOM.
  • Linking to non-sequitur redirects – so that users click a link thinking they will find a particular item on a website, but then they are redirected to a different location (leaving the user frustrated and searching the site for the content they thought they were going to find).

Many redirect anti-patterns can be resolved by following these two principles:

  • Never link to redirects internally. When a page is retired, find all internal links pointing to the old page and remove or update those links.
  • Allow old pages that have no replacement to become 404s – and be sure to remove links to them

Wrapping Up

A bit of governance and process around redirects can keep your website clean and your users happy.

Implement analytics tracking on redirects to enable auditing and removal of old redirects that don’t need to be maintained in the future.

Don’t link to redirects internally unless there is a valid reason.

Following these basic steps will set your site up for future success and maintainability.

More resources:

Featured Image: duangphorn wiriya/Shutterstock

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4 Tactics for High-Quality Backlinks That Move the Needle [+ Examples]



Many popular link building tactics produce low-quality links that don’t improve SEO performance.

Even if these techniques make an impact, it’s often for a short time, and Google can easily devalue them down the line. 

Here are four tactics for building high-quality links that help you stay ahead of your competition, expose your brand to new audiences, and are less likely to be devalued in future algorithm updates. 

Digital PR is the process of creating content that appeals to journalists and promoting it to them. 

If they like the content, they’ll write a feature about it or include it in a piece they’re writing. This can land you many high-quality backlinks from big sites and news publications for free.


In the months following ChatGPT’s release, Fery Kaszoni and his team at Search Intelligence compiled statistics about Open AI’s popularity since launching ChatGPT and compared it to other popular platforms like Instagram and TikTok. 

The result? 60+ free link placements, including mentions on Yahoo News (DR 92), The Wrap (DR 84), and Time magazine (DR 92). 

A few examples of backlinks earned by a piece of content about Open AI’s popularity since launching ChatGPT

In another campaign, Fery and his team calculated how much money beloved video characters would earn in real life. This campaign earned 20+ free links including a DR89 link from British newspaper, The Daily Express. 

Example of a high-DR like from Daily ExpressExample of a high-DR like from Daily Express

How to do it 

Successful Digital PR requires some creativity, but this is the process in a nutshell: 

  1. Find a trending topic 
  2. Create relevant newsworthy content around that topic 
  3. Tell journalists about it 

For example, AI has been a major topic of conversation in all industries since it launched. Any new data or insights about it would go well in news cycles while it remains a topic of interest. 

Once you have a topic, you need to come up with interesting content ideas that are relevant to your business.

The best topics for digital PRThe best topics for digital PR

This is the hard part. It’s really a case of brainstorming ideas until you land on something you think could be interesting. 

For example, here are a few random content ideas for a company that sells furniture online: 

  • Have AI refurnish rooms from popular TV shows in new styles. 
  • Have AI design a new item of furniture, create it, and sell it. 
  • Ask 100 interior designers if they’re worried about AI taking their jobs, share the data. 

After you find your winning idea, create the content, give it an attention-grabbing headline, and write a press release about the most interesting insights. 

Then, promote your content to journalists. You can try services like Roxhill or Muck Rack to find journalists who might be interested in your content. 

You can also use a tool like Ahrefs’ Content Explorer to find sites that have recently published content about your topic and reach out to them. 

Here’s how to do that: 

  1. Enter your topic into Content Explorer 
  2. Filter for pages published in the last 90 days 
  3. Filter for pages on DR70+ websites (big sites that you probably want links from) 

For example, if we do this for the topic of “chatgpt,” we see thousands of well-known websites that have recently published about ChatGPT including Business Insider, Tech Republic, and Wired. 

Finding websites that recently published about a topic with Content ExplorerFinding websites that recently published about a topic with Content Explorer

Data journalism is a way of enhancing or creating newsworthy content by analyzing unique data sets. It can fall under digital PR, though it typically requires more detailed research. 

This technique works because reporters love a good statistic they can either quote or write an opinion piece about. Be the source of such data, and you can earn many high-quality links anytime your data becomes relevant to trending news topics. 


Data journalism can be quite simple. For example, in another case study from Search Intelligence, Fery’s team used Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer as a data source for a cybersecurity PR campaign. 

The study reveals the top UK banks where customers seek help with fraud, allowing journalists to report on which banks are more secure than others. 

The data fuelling these insights is keyword search volume. That’s it. 

Ahrefs' data that fuelled a cybersecurity PR campaignAhrefs' data that fuelled a cybersecurity PR campaign

This method doesn’t take very long, doesn’t need a data scientist and can very easily be replicated in other industries where search popularity can unearth interesting insights. 

In another example (and perhaps one of our all time favorites), marketing firm Yard created a data study comparing the CO2 emissions of various celebrities and ranking the worst offenders. 

Data study on the C02 emissions of celebritiesData study on the C02 emissions of celebrities

If you follow celebrity news, there’s no way you missed reports of Taylor Swift’s private jet emissions being among the highest compared to other celebrities. 

Just a few of the thousands of posts about Taylor Swift's jet emissions following a successful data journalism campaignJust a few of the thousands of posts about Taylor Swift's jet emissions following a successful data journalism campaign

Every single one of these news stories originated from the data study. 

When the study was first released, it went viral and earned links from almost 2,000 referring domains within the first month. 

But that’s not all. 

This topic trended in news cycles again when rumours spread that Taylor Swift attended a Jets game to bury the original negative publicity about her private jet usage, earning Yard a well-deserved second round of links. 

Google Trends data for "taylor swift jet" Google Trends data for "taylor swift jet"

Today, this post has 1,861 links from 1,155 referring domains, 77% of them are dofollow, and 38.4% are higher than DR 60. 

DR distribution of backlinks to the celebrity C02 emissions content pieceDR distribution of backlinks to the celebrity C02 emissions content piece

Talk about drool-worthy results! That’s high-quality link building done right. 

How to do it 

Successful data journalism is similar to digital PR but relies on the intriguing, data-backed insights you can unearth. 

In a nutshell, the process looks like this: 

  1. Find a data-driven content angle that gets links and media attention 
  2. Gather data to provide new or updated insights on the topic 
  3. Tell journalists about your findings 

Start by considering “your money or your life” content angles that everyday folk care about. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking too narrow or pitching ideas only a small demographic may understand. 

For instance, cybersecurity is not a sexy topic journalists or their readers will likely care about. There’s also not a high degree of literacy about the topic among the general population. 

But everyone cares about whether their bank is secure and how safe their money is. 

This concept needs no explanation and that’s exactly why data that helps answer the question “how safe is your bank?” worked exceptionally well as a link building tactic in the example above. 

You can also use Content Explorer to gather more ideas like: 

  • Evergreen yet stale topics that you can update with more recent data 
  • Data you can visualize better or repurpose into a different content format 
  • Trending angles in other industries you can apply to your industry 

For example, on the topic of ChatGPT, we found Rand Fishkin’s post claiming usage has declined 29% between May and August 2023 and that 30% of its usage is by programmers. 

Finding content ideas in Content ExplorerFinding content ideas in Content Explorer

You don’t need original ideas to succeed. If you’ve got the data to back it up, you can easily take the angles of a “useage patterns” or “most popular audience segments” and apply them to popular tools in your industry. 

Some decent data sources you can start with include: 

  • Search data: Like Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer for uncovering interesting search patterns. 
  • Historical data: Like Google Trends for highlighting growth or decline patterns over time. 
  • Scientific research: Like on Google Scholar or in specific research journals. 
  • Public niche data: For instance, Yard’s study used the CelebrityJets Twitter page. 
  • Proprietary data: From within your (or your client’s) organization. 

When you find an interesting insight or pattern worth sharing, write a press release about it and share it with journalists who frequently report on the topic. 

Statistics pages are curated lists of facts and figures in a particular industry. These pages attract evergreen links for as long as the statistics remain relevant. 

It’s one of our favorite link building tactics. Here’s how we’ve used it quite successfully over the years. 


We first launched a detailed list of SEO statistics in 2020 and it has been naturally earning high-quality links ever since. 

Backlinks over time to our SEO statistics pageBacklinks over time to our SEO statistics page

Currently, the page has: 

  • 5,787 backlinks
  • 2,282 referring domains 
  • 82% “dofollow” links 
  • 37.7% from DR 60+ websites

While we used some outreach techniques in the early days, most of the success has come from the page’s ability to maintain top position rankings for competitive keywords.

Rankings for our SEO statistics pageRankings for our SEO statistics page

Do it right, and this tactic remains wildly effective for earning links naturally for many years. 

How to do it 

Start by entering a few broad topics related to your website into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer. For example, we might enter the following for Ahrefs: 

  • SEO
  • Content marketing
  • Link building

Then navigate to the Matching Terms report and apply the inclusion filter for things like stats, statistics, facts, or figures. Make sure your filter is set to include any of these phrases. 

Then it’s just a matter of checking out the results to find a relevant topic you want to write about. 

We went for “SEO statistics”: 

Finding statistics keywords in Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerFinding statistics keywords in Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Once you pick your topic, it’s a just matter of curating linkworthy stats and publishing them on a page. 

While you can earn some seed links with early outreach efforts, long term success comes down to keeping your content updated with the latest data. That’s the best way to compound performance year on year, earning many high-quality links with no ongoing outreach needed. 

Relationship-based link building prioritizes long-term relationships with journalists, writers, and editors. 

It is an effective addition to digital PR campaigns as you can shortcut the time it takes to find the right people to distribute your content. 

Better yet, you can be a journalist’s first point of call when they write a story on topics you or your clients are experts in. 


Imagine having journalists contact you asking to feature your clients in upcoming stories. That’s exactly what growth marketing firm, EngineRoom, has achieved.

A journalist from Mamamia (DR 78) made a call out on Sourcebottle, the Australian equivalent of HARO, seeking expert advice on immigration law. EngineRoom’s link building expert, Don Milne, responded and won the story along with a high-quality link. 

Example of a backlink built with relationship-based link buildingExample of a backlink built with relationship-based link building

Then, the real magic started. 

Instead of ending things there, Don also shared a client list with the journalist in case they ever wanted to collaborate on future stories again. 

Sure enough, a few weeks later, the journalist reached out, asking to connect with another client in the drug rehab space to develop a story on heroin addiction. The client is featured in about 30% of the completed article with detailed quotes from the founder and (of course) a link back to their website. 

Example of a backlink built with relationship-based link buildingExample of a backlink built with relationship-based link building

No pitching. No outreach. Just a genuine partnership and collaboration now earning multiple high-quality links for their clients. 

How to do it 

This technique is all about the follow-up after you collaborate on your first story with a journalist. 

If getting the first foot in the door is where you’re stuck, you can check out our detailed guide on relationship-based link building by Irina Maltseva, the former Head of Marketing at Hunter. 

Once you get that first story, make sure you keep the relationship going. 

If you have a list of websites or clients you represent, create a professional document with a mini bio about each client. Make sure it’s also easily searchable for writers in a hurry and makes your contact details clear and easy to access. 

Then, share it with journalists, writers, and editors you collaborate with so they can refer to it in the future if they need an expert on a specific topic for their content. 

Final thoughts

Earning high-quality backlinks can be much easier than many people realize and cheaper too! All the examples shared in this post earned free link placements on high-authority websites and with minimal outreach. 

These techniques have more staying power. They are also far less likely to be seen as “link manipulation” or devalued in future Google updates. 

And, if you get your content angle just right, they also have the potential to be earning links many months, if not years, down the track! 

Got questions? Ping me on LinkedIn.

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Google To Curb Microtargeting In Consumer Finance Ads




Google To Curb Microtargeting In Consumer Finance Ads

Google is updating its policy limiting personalized advertising to include more restrictions on ads related to consumer financial products and services.

Google’s personalized ads policy prohibits targeting users based on sensitive categories like race, religion, or sexual orientation.

Over the years, Google has continued updating the policy to introduce new limitations. The latest update to restrict consumer finance ads is part of Google’s ongoing efforts to refine its ad targeting practices.

What’s Changing?

Google will update its personalized ads policy in February 2024 to prevent advertisers from targeting audiences for credit and banking ads based on sensitive factors like gender, age, parental status, marital status, or zip code.

Google’s current policy prohibiting “Credit in personalized ads” will be renamed “Consumer finance in personalized ads” under the changes.

Google’s new policy will state:

“In the United States and Canada, the following sensitive interest categories cannot be targeted to audiences based on gender, age, parental status, marital status, or ZIP code.

Offers relating to credit or products or services related to credit lending, banking products and services, or certain financial planning and management services.”

Google provided examples, including “credit cards and loans including home loans, car loans, appliance loans, short-term loans,” as well as “banking and checking accounts” and “debt management products.”

When Does The New Policy Take Effect?

The updated limitations on personalized advertising will take effect on February 28, 2024, with full enforcement expected within six weeks.

Google said advertisers in violation will receive a warning at least seven days before any account suspension.

According to Google, the policy change aims to protect users’ privacy better and prevent discrimination in financial services advertising.

However, the company will still allow generalized ads for credit and banking products that do not use sensitive personal data for targeting.

What Do Advertisers Need To Do?

Google will begin enforcing the updated restrictions in late February 2024 but advises advertisers to review their campaigns for compliance issues sooner.

Advertisers should carefully check their ad targeting settings, remove improper personalization based on sensitive categories, and adhere to the revised policy requirements.

Failure to follow the rules could lead to account suspension after an initial warning. Google will work with advertisers to ensure a smooth transition during the ramp-up period over the next six months.

Featured Image: SurfsUp/Shutterstock

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Google Discusses Fixing 404 Errors From Inbound Links




Google Discusses Fixing 404 Errors From Inbound Links

Google’s John Mueller responded to a thread in Reddit about finding and fixing inbound broken links, offering a nuanced insight that some broken links are worth finding and fixing and others are not.

Reddit Question About Inbound Broken Links

Someone asked on Reddit if there’s a way to find broken links for free.

This is the question:

“Is it possible to locate broken links in a similar manner to identifying expired domain names?”

The person asking the question clarified if this was a question about an inbound broken link from an external site.

John Mueller Explains How To Find 404 Errors To Fix

John Mueller responded:

“If you want to see which links to your website are broken & “relevant”, you can look at the analytics of your 404 page and check the referrers there, filtering out your domain.

This brings up those which actually get traffic, which is probably a good proxy.

If you have access to your server logs, you could get it in a bit more detail + see which ones search engine bots crawl.

It’s a bit of technical work, but no external tools needed, and likely a better estimation of what’s useful to fix/redirect.”

In his response, John Mueller answers the question on how to find 404 responses caused by broken inbound links and identify what’s “useful to fix” or to “redirect.”

Mueller Advises On When Not To “Fix” 404 Pages

John Mueller next offered advice on when it doesn’t make sense to not fix a 404 page.

Mueller explained:

“Keep in mind that you don’t have to fix 404 pages, having things go away is normal & fine.

The SEO ‘value’ of bringing a 404 back is probably less than the work you put into it.”

Some 404s Should Be Fixed And Some Don’t Need Fixing

John Mueller said that there are situations where a 404 error generated from an inbound link is easy to fix and suggested ways to find those errors and fix them.

Mueller also said that there are some cases where it’s basically a waste of time.

What wasn’t mentioned was what the difference was between the two and this may have caused some confusion.

Inbound Broken Links To Existing Webpages

There are times when another sites links into your site but uses the wrong URL. Traffic from the broken link on the outside site will generate a 404 response code on your site.

These kinds of links are easy to find and useful to fix.

There are other situations when an outside site will link to the correct webpage but the webpage URL changed and the 301 redirect is missing.

Those kinds of inbound broken links are also easy to find and useful to fix. If in doubt, read our guide on when to redirect URLs.

In both of those cases the inbound broken links to the existing webpages will generate a 404 response and this will show up in server logs, Google Search Console and in plugins like the Redirection WordPress plugin.

If the site is on WordPress and it’s using the Redirection plugin, identifying the problem is easy because the Redirection plugin offers a report of all 404 responses with all the necessary information for diagnosing and fixing the problem.

In the case where the Redirection plugin isn’t used one can also hand code an .htaccess rule for handling the redirect.

Lastly, one can contact the other website that’s generating the broken link and ask them to fix it. There’s always a small chance that the other site might decide to remove the link altogether. So it might be easier and faster to just fix it on your side.

Whichever approach is taken to fix the external inbound broken link, finding and fixing these issues is relatively simple.

Inbound Broken Links To Removed Pages

There are other situations where an old webpage was removed for a legitimate reason, like an event passed or a service is no longer offered.

In that case it makes sense to just show a 404 response code because that’s one of the reasons why a 404 response should be shown. It’s not a bad thing to show a 404 response.

Some people might want to get some value from the inbound link and create a new webpage to stand in for the missing page.

But that might not be useful because the link is for something that is irrelevant and of no use because the reason for the page no longer exists.

Even if you create a new reason, it’s possible that some of that link equity might flow to the page but it’s useless because the topic of that inbound link is totally irrelevant to anyting but the expired reason.

Redirecting the missing page to the home page is a strategy that some people use to benefit from the link to a page that no longer exists. But Google treats those links as Soft 404s, which then passes no benefit.

These are the cases that John Mueller was probably referring to when he said:

“…you don’t have to fix 404 pages, having things go away is normal & fine.

The SEO ‘value’ of bringing a 404 back is probably less than the work you put into it.”

Mueller is right, there are some pages that should be gone and totally removed from a website and the proper server response for those pages should be a 404 error response.

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