Msg#: 4599415 posted 7:58 am on Aug 5, 2013 (gmt 0)
What happens when you have a case where an entire product category is removed? Or a manufacturer/distributor line where the manufacturer is no longer in business? Where do you redirect that to? The home page? Another category that might not be similar?
Is suggestible to use 301 redirection for bulk removal?
Msg#: 4599415 posted 12:47 pm on Aug 5, 2013 (gmt 0)
Don't 301 in bulk. If the content is gone, you should send a 410 or 404 response code. There's no reason you can't create a custom page that suggests better alternatives to these missing product categories.
Msg#: 4599415 posted 6:54 am on Aug 6, 2013 (gmt 0)
If you 301 to your 404 page (i.e. you trap /my-old-page.xtn and forward to /my-404-page) then that is known as a 'soft 404'. They're not ideal - see https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/181708?hl=en
The preferable method is to serve a 410 / 404 header response at /my-old-page.xtn