Can a reduction in a web site's size (for a cleaner site) harm page rank or search positions in google

Posted on 2006-06-30
Last Modified: 2010-04-27
I have an older site that has gone through some revisions in the last few years and it has a lot of orphan files, I am trying to clean it up and I would like to get rid of the orphan files.  It is a very large site, getting rid of the orphans will reduce it in size  by about 20% or more.  My page rank is currently a 5 and I'd hate to lose it or be penalized for the reduction in size.   Any feedback or advice as to how this could harm my google status and page rank would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you.
Question by:ontrackprofessionals
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LVL 29

Expert Comment

ID: 17024059
Are you short on disk space?
If no... better safe than sorry, just keep these pages as they are!

Author Comment

ID: 17024347
I just can't stand a messy site but I'm also afraid Google may someday penalize for orphan files and some are duplicates which I know they don't like.

Expert Comment

ID: 17028380
Rework the site to include the orphaned files as part of a new site structure that no longer allows pages to drop off.
This may include rewriting the content of the orphaned pages but maintaining the urls.
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 17029455
if Google can not see them then they dont matter.

Google indexes pages by following links, it starts with your main page (index, home etc) then follows each link on your site to other pages and images etc. every page it comes accross it will follow all the links on that page (although this does not mean those page will be def indexed)

for examaple -

BAD - if you have a page/image on your site with points to a file which is no longer there!

Not a problem - if you have files or images uploaded on your server which are not linked anywhere on your site Google will never fine them so its not a problem.

you can if you want also use a robot.txt to restrict area to the search engines.

LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 17031410
Dont sacrifice code for file sizes, just make sure that your site is fully standardised. - XHTML Standards - HTML 4.01 Standards - CSS Specs

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Author Comment

ID: 17032051
Pigmentarts, but what about if google had already indexed and cached the orphan files before they were orphan files, I'm afraid they may go to search for them only to find they are not there. Or when google does a deep whole site index do they start from scratch with the home page every time?
LVL 29

Expert Comment

ID: 17036099
If your orphaned files are indexed... you should refrain from removing them 'cause this might impact negatively your ranking...
If the only gain in removing the files is disk space...
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 17043537
if a orphan file  is index, next time around if its not there Google should not re-index it other wise Google would be full of Broken links!

what i am staying is about your links, if you take off links to orphan files from your main site, then Google with never find them or index them. if they are not accessable on indexing the site second time around Google with not include then in its index that time.

what fibo is saying is right also, if the orphan file are something important to your site then by removing it could affect your site rankings, but saying that removing bad pages could also improve your rankings.

my advice is to remove any pages which are not linked form your main site if they are no longer needed for relevent to your site. if they are good pages, w3c and important to your site, link them from your main page why waste then.

PS if a page is not linked Google will never see it, if it has seen it in the passed (becuase it was linked before) then next time around Goolgle will remove it form its index.

hope that makes sense got to type quick before boss comes back lol

Author Comment

ID: 17043732
The orphan files are no longer important, the ones  I'm talking about are somewhat similar in content to other cleaned up high quality files that are currently being used in other directories.

The orphans occurred because they were created when I didn't know very much about how to properly name them or do a site right altogether, later I went in and did better pages in better named directories and switched my site links to the new and improved versions, thus creating the orphans.  

So, actually I have some directories that are almost nothing but orphan files, I would love to get rid of them, but, for each directory I remove, I'm looking at removing about 300 to 600 kb from a 36,000 kb site.  One directory might be around 1% to 2% of the site size, and there are about four I would like to take out - about 8% to 10% in site size altogether.

I wonder if Google looks at a site's size properties including everything or just by the pages it has found and it has indexed?

Sorry if I'm slow as to what your advice is, with this more specific info could you clarify your advice once again,, since the pages may have duplicate content do you still reccomend keepting them or removing them?

By the way, my index page currently has a pr of 5

Thanks for your patience and advice, I appreciate it.

LVL 12

Accepted Solution

pigmentarts earned 250 total points
ID: 17048832
duplicate content is a big no, no!

Google does not like duplicate content if thats the case i would get rid.

not sure if Google takes in files size, but i know Google does look at how many pages your site has (but again it can only tell this from indexing, and it can only indexed linked pages not orphan files) so i dont think you have a problem with removing them.

PS. PR is not about how well your site ranks you could see that go up or down and your site could still do well in the rankings. PR is like a vote for your sites it shows how many are linking to your site, well in a way! it does seem however the higher PR the more Google comes around and indexes your site. with a PR of 5 i get a visit every week if not more.

LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 17053628
thanks for the points, please do let us know in a few weeks what the out come is, i dont think it will affect you in fact i think it will improve your ranking.

anyhow good luck

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