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I need to delete many pages (recipes) on my website because the recipes were made with products that don't exist any more. Links to those pages are all over social media so I can't just use a 410 header and remove the links from Google. I also don't want to use 404 because those recipe are gone forever.

I have been thinking to redirect visitors to the category page. Let's say a recipe is a dessert, the redirect will go to the category dessert page where all dessert recipes can be found. At the top of that page I want to write some text that this recipe is not there any more but below you can find plenty of others. I don't want those lines to be indexed with the chance they'll end op in the serps, but I don't know if that's the right way to do.

I am looking for the best SEO way to solve this with as less errors in Google Search Console as possible. Would it be a good idea to

  • replace the recipe content with the desserts category page content (10 dessert recipes per page)
  • write some 'recipe was deleted text' at the beginning of that page
  • create a 410 header for that page
  • apply noindex, follow to that page

When people want to go to the recipe they'll end up at the dessert's category pages. It's the closest I can think of without deleting the recipe completely and serve a 404.

Would this be the right thing to do or do I miss something?

Is it better to apply noindex, follow to that page or useless because it has already a 410 HTTP header?

Am I right thinking search engines won't index HTTP header 410 pages or show them in serps?

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Yes, that should be a good way to handle it.

For search engines, you provide the 410 status and the noindex value. While noindex might not be necessary, it could still help in some cases (e.g., if your application fails to send 410, or if a consumer doesn’t support the status code and would keep the document in its index).

For users, you provide the message that the content is gone and (pointers to) relevant alternative content they might be interested in.

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