I would like to trouble you for your thoughts. About 8 months ago we stripped a massive amount of low quality and redundant pages from our website. However one of the pages was the landing page for a free widget we offered that no longer words. The widget was incredibly popular and earned us a fair few good (and a lot of low quality) links. The Good links are still driving traffic to out site however since we removed this page (as it no longer worked) we've getting a very high number of 404 errors for our site.
We have personalised the 404 page to try and give visitors routes to other helpful resources, but obviously it's still giving visitors a bad user experience.
Am I best contacting the webmasters of these site and asking them to remove the link or is it worth the pain of increased 404 errors to keep the valuable links?
Why not setup a page (using the old page's URL) indicating that the old widget was taken off the market and guide the traffic (that seems to be interested in your topic) to a new version or other related content. Much better than having an interested user land on a 404 (even if this is a customized one (and keep the custoized 404 for teh rest of the removed pages)).