As website owners, one of the biggest headaches we face is deciding what pages to remove from our website. This could be due to a variety of reasons, such as outdated or irrelevant content, duplicate content, or simply an underperforming page. While getting rid of such pages might seem like the easiest way out, it’s important to remember that it can have an impact on your website’s SEO.

So what is the best SEO practice for handling a page you no longer want on your website? Let’s take a closer look.

1. Conduct a Content Audit

Before you decide to remove a page, it’s important to conduct a content audit of your entire website. This will help you identify all the pages that are underperforming or have become irrelevant over time. You can use tools like Google Analytics or SEMrush to access important content metrics like traffic, bounce rates, and dwell time. You can also look at the search console to find pages that are not generating any clicks or impressions. Once you’ve identified these pages, you can start considering whether to remove or update them.

2. Implement a 301 Redirect

If you decide to remove a page from your website, it’s crucial to implement a 301 redirect to redirect any links and traffic to a new or existing page on your website. This is important because if someone tries to access the removed page through a search engine, they will be directed to a relevant page on your website instead of hitting a 404 error page, which could hurt your ranking.

3. Customize the 404 Error Page

In some cases, it may be necessary to remove a page without creating a redirect. For example, if the page is irrelevant or outdated, and you don’t have any suitable content to redirect to, the best option may be to let it go. In this case, it’s important to create a custom 404 error page that informs users that the page they’re looking for no longer exists and provides helpful resources or links to other relevant pages on your website. This can help minimize the impact on your website’s SEO and improve the user experience for visitors who land on the 404 error page.

4. Remove the Page from Google Index

Once you’ve removed a page from your website, it’s important to remove it from the Google index as well. This is to avoid showing up in search results even after the page has been deleted or redirected. You can use the Google Search Console to remove a page from the index. Simply navigate to the “Removals” tab and select “New Request.” You can then enter the URL of the removed page, and Google will take it down from its index.

In conclusion, removing a page from your website might seem like a simple task, but it can have a significant impact on your website’s SEO. By conducting a content audit, implementing a 301 redirect, customizing the 404 error page, and removing the page from the Google index, you can minimize the impact on your website’s ranking and improve the user experience. Remember, when in doubt, always weigh the pros and cons before making any crucial decisions that could affect your website’s SEO.