Aside from one-off removal requests in Google Webmaster Tools, is there some automated way (atom feed with PubSubHubBub, etc) to tell Google that pages have been permanently removed?

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AFAIK there still isn't. I return a 404 page.

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AFAIK there still isn't. I return a 404 page.

I return a 410 Gone message if an article has been deleted. 404 basically means "Sorry, I have no clue what page you're talking about. Nothing here by that name." But 410 means "Yes, I know what you're talking about. It was once here, but it's not anymore, so don't bother trying again."

We already publish an atom activity stream (http://activitystrea.ms/specs/atom/1.0/) that indicates exactly WHEN content is deleted, but I was just wondering if there was a way to feed that into Google. Google Analytics has the social data hub that accepts atom activity streams, but it seems to be for an entirely different purpose and nothing to do with content crawling.

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