In one of my recent site audit projects, I found one of broken links to be a Samsung online contest. This contest has ended and now what? Samsung has removed the contest pages, which is really bad.
Why Shouldn’t You Remove Pages with Expired Content
For the obvious reason number one, if anyone tried to visit the removed pages, he would be facing a “not found” error message. It could be a participant who comes back to check out the results. What kind of experience is that when a visitor see a page like the one above?
How do you feel when you arrive at the post office and find out it has moved away?
Secondly, Samsung lost link love. Online contest, or lucky draw from well known brands like Samsung often gets popular among bloggers especially when there is also an offline media coverage. Many link to the contest page and share it in their blogs. Not to mention the coverage from big online news sites.
Each link to the contest page acts as a vote to the site; the more, the merrier. Link building is one important part of getting ranked high in the search engine search results (SEO efforts). You don’t want to “remove” those efforts, either intentionally built links or unintentionally ones.
Thirdly, if the search engines have indexed the contest pages, they would soon find it unreachable if you remove them. Bad for SEO (search engine optimization).
How Should You Deal with Expired Content
But, don’t waste the opportunities to share the fun from the online contest. People love photos and videos. So, do take them and share on the site.
You can do more than sharing love. You can invite for future participations. How?
- Put an email subscription box there so that visitors can choose to be informed of future events; remember the rule, “K.I.S.S.” (keep it simple, stupid). Don’t ask for millions of information; a name and email address will do.
- Ask the visitors to follow you on Twitter and become a fan at your Facebook Fan page.
- Enable people to subscribe via RSS reader though it’s not as popular as email subscriptions in certain markets.
Lastly, just for precaution measure; build a good 404 “not found” page. A good custom 404 page will help people find the information they’re looking for, as well as providing other helpful content and encouraging them to explore your site further. I would recommend an extra search box in the main “error message” for better user experience in the top Samsung “404 not found” page.