Expired Content

Got a bit of a question about past events.

@tom.flather has a performance that was advertising a free event that got scrapped and replaced with a paid one… but due to all the effort we put into making all the pages nice and SEO friendly, the original page

  1. Was indexed by Google
  2. Still shows up in search results.

Now, it’s a deliberate feature that even if a folders is deactivated and archived, if you go directly to the URL, you still get a result instead of a 404. Because I thought that showing that a performance HAD existed, even if it’s not longer on sale. I find it really annoying that when I try to look up e.g. arrival details of a train THAT I AM ON, I can’t find it on the train line site because it departed in the past.

But in this case it’s annoying because the page says that something is free which is no longer free and is likely to confuse the punters.

I’ve been doing some reading:

and I think that the correct approach would be to serve an HTTP 410 “Gone” status when the Archive flag is set on a folder. This immediately de-lists the content from the search engine. I think I can return all the normal text (so it doesn’t show an an error) whilst at the same time telling Google that it’s 410 Gone.

Does anyone want a configurable option to NOT do that?

  • I want to be able to archive folders and still have the public find them on Google and still NOT serve an HTTP 410 status error on them
  • I don’t care, do what’s easiest for you

0 voters

I agree with your comment. Status should be Gone as it will de list the content. As i am trying to fix and searching similar things earlier. Great information.

Just realised I voted in this and yet did not explain why…

For us, having the ability to look back at past events, have archive links to past projects etc is pretty key because otherwise bits of our ‘projects’ pages would essentially throw up ‘out of date’ link errors to us all the time, It’d be a pain for us to have to remember to go back and remove old box office links from media releases etc - plus sometimes I’ve ended up using google searches for past events we’ve done just to find copy that I’ve managed to misplace in our filing system…

For me - if I had an event that then changed, and was re-listed (eg a free event which stopped being free) - I would probably just re-publish the new details on the old event URL, so the google index would then throw up the new version of the page. Or, I’d be putting an explanation into the copy on the page that says that the event no longer lists, and linking in to the new listing to redirect my customers.

So the point of this change is that the content of the page would still be served… but it would ALSO have an HTTP status of 410 instead of 200.

That means that a user won’t think it’s an error, the user will just see the page as it ever was. But Google will see it as an error, and will remove the page from its search index.

Your link will still work, but people won’t find the old link in Google.

I’m reasonably confident that a new page at the same URL would go back into the index properly.

At least, that’s what it’s supposed to do. I just checked with http://tickets.shetlandarts.org/sales/categories/film/thelegobatmanmovieu and I got a 404. I’ll check it…



still gives the page correctly, but ALSO returns a 410 status so that Google forgets about it: