One of the best ways in which you can make sure that your website does not have broken links if you have removed certain pages from your website for some reason is to make those pages give a 404 error. This tells the users as well as the search engine bots that the content on this page has been deleted or removed and that they should no longer include them in the search engines. So we have seen many SEOs using the error code 404 to good use for a long time.
However, we have just seen a bit of new advice from Google which is basically just a reminder since it is known to everyone at this point is also common sense. Basically, Google’s webmasters account on Twitter said to a user that they should “make sure to remove any internal links to those pages”.
This is when a user asked them about removing certain pages from their website and making them return an error 404. The user asked about “How do I notify that they are now useless (I return 404, They are not in the sitemap.xml anymore)”
On this question, Google’s webmaster team said that “Returning a 404 result code for pages that you removed is fine” but also gives him a piece of advice to remove internal links. What this tells you is that you might have used the content of the page you just removed in other content which has not been removed.
So if a user clicks on that internal link and gets a 404 error, it is a very bad impression for your website based on user intent and it can degrade the ranking of your website too. Therefore, you should always take care of which links you remove and make sure that links to those deleted pages are also removed without making them hurt your site’s performance.
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