Option third looks better. Let the traffic flow as long as it flows. By time, bounce rate of such pages will increase and ranking will disappear.
Regarding option 1, with this step you will save Internet surfer's time and effort. As the relevant content is missing then the page should not rank. The first step will keep the link juice intact. It will be a socially responsible step.
We run a service company that recently decided to abandon one of our main services. This service (section of the website) has quite a bit of traffic and inbound links from other sites. The section/service has several local pages (ranking for local searches of course) and more generic pages (ranking for more generic search terms). I am unsure of what the best solution is, so I hope to hear from you guys here:
1) 301redirect all pages to front page 2) 301redirect all pages to equivalent pages (both local and category-pages) within a similar service segment (but sill not a close segment - hairdressing vs massage) 3) Keep the pages, remove the booking functionality, and create a message that we "no longer offers this service..." and link to the equivalent pages in different segment 4) Is there a 4th option?