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I'm about to delete 40+ pages that have quality link juice (I'm deleting them for copy write issues). I'd prefer not to do a 404 header on all of them, because I want to preserve inbound links to those pages for SEO. Can I do a 301 redirect to the homepage for all of the deleted pages? I'm concerned because the homepage isn't similar content (It states that a 301 redirect should only be done if the page being redirected to is similar content).

If 301 redirects for the deleted pages is the wrong approach, then what should I do?

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If the topic is the same yes.... Cars to Bikes would be offtopic. Cars to Vehicles would be on topic. etc etc. – Simon Hayter Dec 24 '13 at 19:32
up vote 4 down vote accepted

301 Redirecting is generally a bad idea when the pages are not relevant. It is believed that Google now determine relevant keywords on the page of links to that of the linked page. Too many non-relevant links you run the risk of being slapped by Google.

Also it's considered bad user experience for users to be greeted with a page they didn't expect (redirecting is absolutely fine when the content is relevant). Sometimes its just better and safer to use a 410 gone.

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Redirects to the home page show up in Google Webmaster Tools as "soft 404 errors" in the error reports. Google will not pass Pagerank to what it considers to be "errors."

If you want to preserve Pagerank, you will need to find a more related replacement than just the home page.

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What I do is I create a "Content Removed" page with the administrator email and add a rel="noindex" tag in the header. This removes 404 errors from the Webmaster Tools, but I don't know if it preserves link juice or not. Anyway, a simple redirect to home page is not something I recommend.

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