I have a large site and removed lots of irrelevant pages for good. Should I return 404 or 410? What’s better for my “crawl budget”? (more from the depths of my inbox)
The 410 (“Gone”) HTTP result code is a clearer sign that these pages are gone for good, and generally Google will drop those pages from the index a tiny bit faster. However, 404 vs 410 doesn’t affect the recrawl rate: we’ll still occasionally check to see if these pages are still gone, especially when we spot a new link to them.
In practice, I doubt you’ll see a noticeable difference at all between 404 and 410, so while it’s great to use 410 in situations where you’re sure, with regards to Google search, it’s not worth spending too much time on that decision or on its implementation.
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