Do you have a specific question about your website or want more details about something I've previously written about? Don't be afraid to write in and ask; you might just see your question in an upcoming Daily Golden Nugget.
Last week, I received a follow up question regarding the Nugget about 302 redirecting your home page for special events. It was a fantastic question that I hadn't thought to write about. Here it is:
"My question would be: Once the marketing campaign is over and there's no need to keep the landing page, what happens with its created URL? Should it receive a 301 to homepage, that is, all the way round? I guess it should not be erased without informing Google, on the other side.
The short answer to this is that I like to slowly fade the page out and give all parties long enough to forget about the page before it's removed.
The long answer is...
Let's assume you sent out an email as part of the advertising for that event or special promotion. In the past, I have employed the strategy of archiving those emails somewhere on the site. If you do archive emails like that, you need to make sure to include the date and the year in the archived email. It can be quite surprising how valuable those archived emails can be on your website as content creation builders.
This strategy works best if 50% of your emails are editorial content rather than simply one big image. That editorial content is then absorbed into the search engines and it will add value to your site. Naturally, the emails you send to customers should contain links to the special landing pages you create to support that marketing. However, you should remove those links before archiving on your website. The reasoning for this will become clear in a moment.
Turning our attention now to the special landing pages used in marketing, once your campaign is over, it makes sense to eventually delete these pages and 301 redirect them back to an appropriate page, but not necessarily the home page.
My typical strategy is to first hide them from the navigation. Before I delete them, I will hide them from the navigation, and hide them from the sitemap files on the website. Although it might sound strange, I've seen plenty of data that shows random clicks on links and visits to special events and offer pages long after the event is concluded. Obviously, those visitors are reading old emails or clicking on random ads that haven't been correctly expunged from the internet. This is also why it's important to have the month, day, and year on these landing pages as well.
With all the options for online paid advertising now, it's also very easy to forget which ads linked to special landing pages. Google AdWords is probably the worst offender since you can easily spin hundreds of ads pointing to different landing pages. Tracking down all these ads to turn them off can be a challenge, especially when you there are different teams of people managing your paid ads, your website, and your marketing.
Now that I mention it, if you do have multiple teams working on different aspects of your marketing, the website team will need to hide the pages from the public and then give the other teams enough time to coordinate the shutdown of the different ads.
One thing to keep in mind is that social media sponsored posts will be visible for a very long time unless you actively delete them. On Facebook, anyone can scroll through your history and see previous posts that you've boosted, and they might click those links long after the special offer has expired. This is where the Facebook dark post comes in handy since it allows you to boost a hidden post that the public only sees for the advertising duration. Then it vanishes and removes the chance for future clicks to dead pages.
Eventually, I will delete the landing page and set up a 301 redirect that will send someone to an appropriate page, but not necessarily the home page. If the special was for an engagement ring event, I would redirect that landing page to the engagement ring category of the website. If the landing page was for a special December tanzanite birthstone event, I would redirect the landing page to a blog post about tanzanite, or maybe a tanzanite pendent in the catalog. Although I'd be wary about redirecting to a product that might eventually be sold and deleted from the website.
Another option is to redirect the landing page to the archived email. Remember that I warned you to remove all the links from the email before archiving it on the website. Specifically, you need to remove the links to the landing page. At this point, if you 301 redirect the landing page to the archived email, you would create an endless loop of confusion for users.
Ultimately, when it comes time to choose the best option for a 301 redirect, you should choose a target page that is less likely to be removed in the future. Every page you remove off the website needs to be replaced by a 301 redirect to a new page. If you're not careful, you could end up with a horrible set of 301s to 301s and then to even more 301s. It's not a good practice to have more than two 301 redirects on any URL; otherwise, you end up with a confused 301 spaghetti website.
Thanks for the question!