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I am raising this question as a follow up to my previous (already answered) question: SEO Safe way to permanently delete thousands of outdated pages

Now we are planning to remove about 25% of pages. These pages will be returning 410 status with user-friendly content (with a link to the home page and a message saying that the page has expired). I believe search engines will take some time to de-index the pages that return 410. (Though the time will be shorter than 404 statuses, I believe there will be some grace period or at least natural technical delay by search engines). During the time between pages removed from the server and de-indexing by search engines, what if users try to land on those pages? Will such pages affect the user experience and SEO of the entire domain in general?

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Though the time will be shorter than 404 statuses, I believe there will be some grace period or at least natural technical delay by search engines

This is correct. The search engines may take some time to crawl and see the 410 pages, since re-crawling happens on a schedule.

During the time between pages removed from the server and de-indexing by search engines, what if users try to land on those pages?

They will get your user-friendly message informing them that the page no longer exists. They will either follow your link to your home page, or bounce back to search results. Both are fine.

Will such pages affect the user experience and SEO of the entire domain in general?

Taking for granted that these pages and the information contained in them will be removed, serving up 404 or 410 pages is actually the best thing you can do to protect the SEO of your domain. The exception is if you are not removing that information but just moving it somewhere else - i.e. merging it with another page, in which case you would want to 301 redirect to the page that now contains the information that the old page contained.

Creating user-friendly error pages like this is also best for user experience, because they tell the user explicitly that the information they were looking for is no longer available. (I've seen websites 301-redirect users from nonexistent pages to their home page, leaving them wondering what happened to the content they were looking for, don't do this.)

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it 404 or 410 is first of all not big difference after all. Read here: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-404-status/254429/

And how the SEO rank of the remaining pages will be affected nobody can tell you. But obviously, when you have decided to delete 25% pages, these pages might be useless for you and for you auditory, by what I conclude also for the Page rank (via backlinking weight or whatever).

I believe having fewer but highly ranked pages is better than having tons of nonsense. Hope this helps you.

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