User-generated content site. New link structure. Many links already existing in the wild. All across the internet.
Page has good ranking.
Now, some sections are gone / discontinued.
Others still exist, but the links to the those sections and the pages within them have radically changed.
In some cases there are thousands of links.
Problem is, in the old link structure, the links can come in a variety of permutations:
Each of these links could point to the same page.
Seems like writing 3, or more, redirects for every page would get us punished by Google if we did that for a thousand pages. Am I right?
Our thinking was to just write a single redirect based on the locus=29 value. Wouldn't get the user to the EXACT page, but it would get them back to the correct SECTION of the new site.
Is that better than trying to add thousands of permutations of 301 redirects?
And, for the eliminated sections, send people to the home page.
Put another way: what's the purpose of the 301 redirect - only to deliver the user to EXACTLY the same place they were headed to originally? Or, to avoid having a few thousand broken links lying around out there in the world by delivering the user to at least the place they wanted to get to?