mhansen - 12:30 pm on Nov 28, 2012 (gmt 0)
divesting myself of a number of lower quality sites.
We have a series of 15-20 narrow-focus niche sites (-100 pages each) under a common parent market with varying degrees of success. We're getting ready to abandon the smaller sites (30-45 days from now), and we'll push some of that content onto one much-larger site with categories of indexed content. (for Branding purposes)
Ex: Old sites would be separate sites for: wheels, tires, fenders, bumpers, wipers, etc. New site would be: car parts. (car parts used only as an example)
None of the smaller sites are under any penalties or filters as far as we can tell, however, just due to the nature of the sites, there is a bit of overlap and we'll end up with small amounts of "similar" content if we 301 every page of old > new site. We've been slapped around by Google enough over the last 10+ years to be wary of transferring any future filtering we may not yet know about.
Method 1 - A simple 404 > header redirect on all pages, redirect 100% to the homepage and put up a "new site" message and nofollow link to the new site home page, to avoid any good or bad history following to the new site. (would using a deep link to the new-site category page be a bad thing?)
Method 2 - 301 the strongest pages of old sites to same page on new site, then 404 > redirect all others to the homepage with the new site message and nofollow link.
Wait 45-90 days and completely kill off the old sites.
What am I missing?