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Sending a 410 responses for a page that no longer exist should make Google stop crawling for that page.

The site I am working on has been recently migrated, and very little of the content was migrated.

I've already turned the existing content into 301 redirects (the content that is on both the old and the new site), but now I would like to flush the old content from Google's memory by placing 410 responses in it's path when it returns to crawl for them and finds a 404 response.

However, I asked our CMS host about it, and they said that our CMS does not support 410 responses. Is there some other way to post a 410 response, like making a dead link 301 redirect to a page that a 410 response in the form of a meta tag?

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If you have PHP capabilities, you can create a PHP file which generates a 410 status return via the $http_response_code parameter of the header() function. You can copy the file to each old page name, or use .htaccess to map the old names to a single file.

Google processes 410 much like 404, but will quit revisiting the page a little sooner with a 410.

If you have only HTML, you could put a <META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOINDEX"> line in the header of an HTML file at each old page name. This will cause search engines to remove it from their index.

The fastest way is probably to visit Google Webmaster Tools and request URL removal for each one ('Remove URLs' under 'Optimization').

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I found robots.txt quite effective here: seomoz.org/learn-seo/robotstxt –  leeand00 Jun 28 '12 at 13:36
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If you have access to it, you can do this by changing the .htaccess. Make a 410 ErrorDocument to redirect to, and then redirect old the pages to it. You can see an example here on SO.

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