UPDATE 6/16/10: OK, maybe I was a bit off on this one 😛 see http://techcrunch.com/2010/06/16/aol-to-sell-bebo-for-around-10-million/
Yahoo finally closed Geocities.com in a way that proves Carol Bartz & co. really shouldn’t be focused on search – they just destroyed millions of dollars worth of PageRank in one fell swoop.
As of this writing Google is reporting there are 7.45MM Geocities URLs in its index. Click on any of those links like this one for Medical Online Glossary & Resources:
and you’ll see that the URL produces a 404 error on the search.yahoo.com domain.
According to Compete, Geocities had 10MM visits last month – a fair amount of which I am sure came from organic search. I have no idea what those visits were worth but I would bet that it’s a lot more than $0 which is what the value of those URLs is now.
This is a classic case of an organization either not understanding or ignoring the value of SEO and if I were a shareholder I would be asking what would have been so hard about at least doing a global 301 redirect of the entire domain.
If you are thinking about turning off a website, before you do it might be well worth your time to call someone who knows something about SEO to understand how to extract the maximum amount of value when you do it.
When you shut down a company, you usually try to sell off the old office furniture instead of throwing gasoline on it and lighting a match right?