Robert_Charlton - 7:54 pm on Jun 23, 2011 (gmt 0)
The link juice is something that could be annoying. If I have a couple of links on the 410 would they count.. I think not!
Yes, that pesky link juice gets all over everything. ;)
The crux of the situation would be to determine which of the discontinued product pages has in fact attracted external inbound links. I'd use a combination of link databases (those that are fresh within 24 hours) along with your server logs, to determine roughly which pages have external inbounds and which have received outside traffic via search. These conditions are likely to identify the pages worth 301 redirects or archiving.
Queries for the urls of the remaining pages should return a 410 (Gone) status code... [w3.org...] ...meaning that: "The requested resource is no longer available at the server and no forwarding address is known".
With your site's fast turnover, you'd need to do this on an ongoing basis, which would probably require a custom system, and it might be costly to do regularly. You would also have to update nav links within your remaining content, along with your XML sitemaps.
It's going to take a chunk of overhead to do even this on a test basis, so initially I'd set up a test for a limited window of time... and I'd determine what percentage of your pages have links worth preserving, and also evaluate what kinds of links those are (eg, if they're blog links that are ultimately going to drop off the blog first page, they're likely to be of limited time value and may not be worth the overhead of preserving).
You'd then need to look at the tradeoffs of...
For pages that have no external inbounds...
- 410s, which would deliver a custom error page, not unlike a 404 custom error page, but more permanent. You would need to remove internal nav links to any pages you 410 or simply let go 404.
For pages that do have external inbounds...
- direct 301s to either related currently active pages, or perhaps to appropriate category pages...
- archiving... either by keeping in them in place... or by moving to a separate section, which would entail 301s because of the new location.
In either case, you'd need to modify the content of your old pages to make them useful to visitors who find them, thus maximizing benefit to your site. The onpage modifications to your archived pages, whether moved or in place, would entail, among other things, advising users of the status of the pages, removing links to pages that would also be changing, and adding links to new related content you want to send users to.
Chances are that an archived page will only have a limited life unless it was immensely popular, in which case there may be replacement products coming. An archive might in effect be used as a buffer, to preserve inbound link juice until a more appropriate use of the page can be determined.
I don't understand what's meant using a 410 for an archive. It doesn't make sense to me. When you 410 a page, it's gone.
Needless to say, the CMS requirements of the above aren't trivial. As g1smd points out, off-the-shelf systems generally don't address this.