When content becomes outdated, sometimes site owners remove the old page and replace it with a new one. And they don’t always remember to use a redirect when doing so. The question came up on Twitter about whether it is best to replace the content or redirect from the old page to the new one.
John Mueller from Google answered it on Twitter and said the best solution is to simply replace the content and keep the same URL.
TBH I’d just replace the content on the existing URL. Changing URLs adds unnecessary complexity in most cases (and adds uncertainty of canonicalization – which URL is chosen). That said, doing what you mentioned is fine if you need to change URLs.
The canonical issue is a big thing. While canonicals are generally considered a suggestion, other factors can play a role as well, and if a site is swapping URLs around as they update content, by removing one URL and replacing it with another, it could have an impact in the search results.
It also means in the future, you won’t end up with a chain of redirects as content is updated onto new URLs every time. Google generally only follows 5 redirects before giving up, which means pages that have been updated to new URLs multiple times might miss out of PageRank from the incoming links to the original page, once it has been updated 4 times.
Here is the tweet:
TBH I'd just replace the content on the existing URL. Changing URLs adds unnecessary complexity in most cases (and adds uncertainty of canonicalization – which URL is chosen). That said, doing what you mentioned is fine if you need to change URLs.
— John ☆.o(≧▽≦)o.☆ (@JohnMu) May 2, 2018
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