Just made some more changes to remove another 80,000 or so urls from our site. I've updated my sitemaps to not include these urls, but now I'm wondering if I should maybe leave them in a sitemap just to ensure Google crawls and removes them. Since I'm concerned these urls have triggered Panda, I want them out of the index as soon as possible.
Some of these urls have noindex,follow on them. Some of them have canonical tags. Either way, they are on the way out.
I was thinking maybe one separate sitemap with all the urls I want gone might not be a bad idea. Or do you think this would send some bad signals to Google.
Last year several people were recommending this approach and reporting "success" from their point of view.
However several Google sources have made it clear that Google doesn't want that. The Sitemap is supposed to be only those URLs that you do want to see indexed. I'd say there should be no concern about Google "losing" URLs - especially URLs that have been crawled recently. Google doesn't seem to forget a URL ever! So I've always gone with their direction and the results have been fine.