Hi, I'm about to launch a new website for someone. Their current (old) website is a static HTML site of almost 1,000 web pages!
Some of their web pages are ranked well with SEO's - To preserve their good rankings, I had full intentions to use mod_rewrite with a 301 redirect basically saying "you found a page that has permanately moved" and redirect all of those 1,000 old pages to the home page.
Well - they are on a Shared Server and mod_rewrite is OFF and they won't turn it on!
Does anyone know of another way I can redirect users to the home page when they find any of those old - well ranked web pages on search engines in a SEO friendly way?
Redirecting that many pages to one page is not a very good idea.
You can use Apache mod_alias for simple unconditional redirects if you insist, but letting the pages go 404 (or better, returning a 410 response) and then providing a link on your custom 404 or 410 error page to the home page, category pages, site map, and site search facility (as applicable) is a much cleaner way to handle this.
Apache mod_alias can be of help in generating a 410-Gone response as well.
Doing this in conformance with the HTTP protocol specification will avoid the risk (not insubstantial with 1000 URLs) of looking like a very spammy doorway-page site (1990s-style).