Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by Neil Cheesman on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, August 5, 2021).

Delete the URL or leave it?

Advice please...
A `theatre` website - where the content is news, reviews, and shows (that sell tickets).
There are about 1500 shows that are added as products using Woocommerce. These are regional shows across the UK and they are generally of a very short run - sometimes for a day and often for a few days or a week - but are listed/ on sale months in advance.
All works fine. But what to do when a show`s date is passed - delete the URL or leave it?
Up until pre-Covid, I was leaving the show URLs (in the hope that they might attract some residual traffic - ie someone might think the show was there and likewise maybe some people might have added a backlink) but not displaying the show on the category page (which is the venue of which there are 20+)
Due to a restructuring of the data feed the shows are currently set to delete once the performance date(s) is passed.
So...continue to delete the URLs as they pass or keep them and remove them from the venue page so they don`t display there?
An example of one of the venues is as follows...
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Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.

  • Brenda Malone: Thank you for asking this question, Neil, this is something that I have struggled with, too. I am looking forward to the advice from the very smart people here!

  • Tim Capper: Hey Neil - do they move onto another theatre location - could it redirect to that (BUT that could be a serious pain tracking )

    Could there be a main landing page for that show - and then the location branches from that - then a redirect would be easy to manage.

    ticket site/Grease-Musical/

    ticket site/Grease-Musical/Birmingham/


    Could you just add - Coming Back Soon - Sign Up for Notification

    See what else is available sooner

    That might be easier

  • Neil Cheesman: Tim Capper Some of the shows tour while others are for one night only... we do have a modified 404 page...

  • Stockbridge Truslow: So long as the show goes "Out of Stock" once the date has passed, you should be okay... but product Schema isn`t really time sensitive unless you`re using a "validUntil" in your "Offer" section. Without that, Google is going to start to get a bit confused - especially if there`s My Fair Lady from 2 years ago, six months ago, and the one coming up this fall - which location is the valid one? Google`s not particularly good at that.

    You could add some "Event" schema in there. So basically your "product" is the ticket to the event, and then the shows themselves are marked up as events that come up and eventually pass.

    Then... Google wouldn`t be confused as to which might still be good even if they are published.

    On one client`s site he had a real estate school that sold classes. We had an event calendar set up to run alongside of the woocommerce. It was a pain because you basically had to do everything twice. I think if it were to do it again (the owner passed away this spring, so the site is gone) I`d just put the event schema right into the products. Rank Math Pro has stuff to help you do that (sort of) automatically - or at least make it easier. (You`d still need to type in dates and whatnot).

    That said - and I haven`t tried this - "The Events Calendar" has a "TIckets" plugin for Woo. So basically, you set up the event in the Events Calendar and it automatically creates the Buy Ticket path. Because this is set up as the "Event" as the primary - then as they pass, you could still let people look at old shows, but Google would know by default that it`s not for sale once the event passes and it won`t get confused with same shows in the future. ( I didn`t look into it that much, but it probably skips the "product" schema and just goes with "Event" and the appropriate "offers" - which is technically more correct than my suggestion above.)https://theeventscalendar.com/.../wordpress-event-tickets/

    THEEVENTSCALENDAR.COMTickets & RSVP | The Events CalendarTickets & RSVP | The Events Calendar

  • Neil Cheesman: Stockbridge Truslow Thanks - I did look into the events side of it and it looked to be a bit of a nightmare...What we have works okay, just not sure whether to keep passed shows for any residual traffic or just delete them.

  • Stockbridge Truslow: If you don`t add the event schema to the products, I`d delete them. Google gets confused on that sort of thing. Even the "validUntil" in the offer combined with the product still being published suggests that it might come back. If it`s proper even schema - then the past is the past and it`ll know which one to rank in which situation.

  • Richard Hearne: Will the shows re-run in future? The problem you describe is a tricky one, and I don`t think there`s one right answer. There could be value in keeping the listings there if you can convert traffic that might land on them (link to current shows etc.). There could also be value if the shows re-run in future and you can update the showtimes on the original page. There could also be graph potential (internal linking of entities) depending on whether you collect/store things like actors, producers etc. related to each show. I`, pretty averse to removing content unless it`s utterly useless, or it causes issues for newer content.

  • Neil Cheesman: Richard Hearne "Will the shows re-run in future?"This is a tough one to calculate... many shows are individual artistes - if I were to estimate it I would say likely less than 10% might return at some point over several/many years - 1 or 2% might return each year over a few years.Initially, I left the old shows as I thought they might attract residual search queries... ie someone thought a show was on in a particular venue but it wasn`t. And also any possible backlinks that might have been added.

View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, August 5, 2021).

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