Planet13 - 2:51 pm on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)
"i.e if a listing that was in "City A" is now removed,"
What is the average lifetime of these listing pages? Is it days? Weeks? Months?
We simply do a 301 redirect to the corresponding city's home page for the city specific listing that was removed. i.e if a listing that was in "City A" is now removed, then we do a 301 redirect to the home page of "City A" for that listing page URL.
I don't think you should be doing that.
Google has said don't take non-existent pages and 301 them to the HOME page.
I think that what you are doing is PRETTY similar to that.
I don't think I understand the exact nature of the businesses that you list. If the individual business pages are for events that might happen once (like a concert or something), is it possible to leave the page but just delete any links to the page - and also clearly state that it is an archive page?
the reason I think you have to be careful is because google is, I think, trying to look at the value of a 301 through the same eyes as a visitor.
Suppose a visitor were looking for business / event page A and they are redirected to something else? They might click out of your site and do another search for the same thing )or click a different result in the serps OTHER than your site. I will bet you dollars to donuts that google would take that as a (lack of) quality signal about your site.