A couple of years ago and not knowing any better in an effort to get more traffic I generated about 12000 pages and added them to one of my websites. Not surprisingly this website has never been a star performer since but the 12000 pages are indexed and do bring some traffic, unfortunately it is totally unrelated to my theme, poor paying and I get the feeling it's dragging the rest of my website down. I guess I'm also a bit embarrassed to have them on my website now :) I'm wondering what to do? Should I do a 301 redirect to the root of the domain for all these pages? Just delete them and let them go 404? Unlink them? Does anyone have a suggestion as to the best course of action?
fatpeter I went through the exact same at the end of last year. I had an affiliate store pinned onto my site with some 10000 odd pages indexed by Google. As it was an affiliate store it was a duplicate content paradise. It was not performing as well as it used to be due to Google's cracking down on affliate pages so I took the decision to get rid of it (also I WAS embarrassed that it was part of my site).
I deleted all the pages so everything went 404. This happened around the time of late November so it conicided with my -950 penalty experience. At the time I was worried that 10000 404s had destroyed my rankng so I was pretty bummed. Rankings came back a month or so later so I think it was just a coincidence.
My advise is to let everything go 404. My rankings have improved a lot and I seem to have a lot less supplementals. But just remember "your mileage may vary". Best of luck.
Thanks for the replies.... I'm reluctant to let them go 404 as I know there are some links to some of those pages but I'm getting the feeling there is no other choice. I'm guessing it would be too risky just to 301 everything.