Dead links, what to do?

Reviewing my blog’s access logs, I see a miscreant application was denied access thanks to the BadBehavior plugin. Curious, I followed the link as, truth to tell, I don’t recall all my posts, especially one seven years old. When I reviewed the post, I tried to follow the links, and 4 out of 6 are dead. What should I do about old, dead links? The post was pretty much a “look at this” piece, pointing to content mostly gone by now. Should I just kill the post, prune off the dead links with an editorial comment on what used to be there, or ignore it?

I don’t consider this blog to be much of an historical document, so I’m not concerned about defacing it. Google searches are likely finding the keywords on that page and redirecting folks here, which is unfortunately, as the page has really lost its value. Just deleting the page hurts the Google page rank of the domain when the crawlers can’t find it any more. Properly curating the page with editorial notes that summarize what the links were about, that they are dead now, and what the whole point of the post was, would be very nice, but is really more effort than is reasonable to ask, especially when you consider there are likely to be 2,000 other posts needing curation.

The best lesson to take away from this is not to write posts just saying “Check this out” and instead summarize what’s there to be seen, what it means, and why it’s important enough to point out to your readers.

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.