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What to do with old links to a purchased domain?

     
4:46 pm on Nov 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Ok, short story:

We are moving a .co.uk ecommerce site, to its equivalent .com. We had to buy the .com as it did not belong to our client.

The .com had some semi-relevant links. i.e the links were about the subject of the sport but they were targeting the US market. Some spammy links have already been cleaned up and disavowed but we kept the good links.

Now, WMT is obviously reporting 404 errors as it is no longer finding the target pages of those links because we put the new site on there.

What is the best thing to do with those links? They don't have an 'equivalent' page to redirect them to, and I am a little worried about redirecting all of them, (around 70) to the homepage. Do I just 410 the pages and let Google drop the pages gradually or redirect? just create a 404 page? Opinions please?
6:04 pm on Nov 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Whatever you do, best practice is not redirect all the pages to the home page.

If you can't come up with a semi-relevant page to redirect to or can't develop content for them to preserve the link equity, then the best bet is to 410 them (or the lazy person's 410, simply let a 404 be served).
6:10 pm on Nov 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I agree with jimbeetle. Ideally, develop a page with the content that is relevant to links. If you cannot, or the new content would not fit with the site, then serve 410.
6:16 pm on Nov 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Good suggestion. Thanks guys. Much appreciated.

Regards,
Shai
7:27 pm on Nov 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

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If you cannot, or the new content would not fit with the site, then serve 410.

And on your [custom] 410 error page, put a couple/few relevant links to "key sections" of your site to maybe capture a "real visitor" or two from a good, "Hey, we don't have that page any more, but you might enjoy..." experience, rather than giving them a "plain white error page" and very little choice other than to hit the back-button immediately.
12:25 am on Nov 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator phranque is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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if you develop a page with content that is relevant to the links, make sure it doesn't look like a "Hey, we don't have that page any more, but you might enjoy..." page or you risk being hit with a "soft 404" on that url.