lucy24 - 8:39 am on Mar 11, 2013 (gmt 0)
Do you think it's worth the effort to redirect (301) these URLs to a newer article?
Newer than what? Are we talking about articles that used to exist and no longer do, or about articles that never existed outside of the search engine's fevered imagination?
Former file, now gone: 410
File that never existed: 404
Misspelled link that's out of your power to change: 301 or 404 at your discretion. But 301 only if it is absolutely clear which page they meant to link to; bait-and-switch tends not to work. That's what well-designed 404 and 410 pages are for.
Don't know about the rest of youse, but I get anxious when the Googlebot asks for an obviously bogus pagename. Makes me worry that they've been meeting too many redirects and are getting suspicious.