When you need to remove or change a page to have it point to a different page, you typically use a 301 redirect. Google appreciates those, but thinks of them much differently than they do of normal links.
You can learn more from this post over at Search Engine Roundtable.
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We’ve talked a good bit on here about 301 redirects and why they’re important. If you need to remove a page or somehow point one page to another, a proper 301 redirect is typically the way to go.
However, there is still some confusion about how Google handles those. Are they essentially the same as links? Not quite.
A user named Caleb asked the following question: “Sorry is this is a dumb question, but would a 301’d page from one domain count as a backlink to the target page of another domain? I know the target page would get any link equity of backlinks from the 301’d page, but does the 301 itself count as a backlink?”
Google’s John Mueller gave a simple, clear response, by saying: “No, we wouldn’t count that as a link. It’s more a helper with picking the canonical URL across a set of URLs. However, links to the redirecting URL could be seen as links to the redirection target.”
It’s the last part of that which may be the most important, and why redirects are important. Whether you know it or not, you likely have links pointing to most of the pages on your site. If you remove a page, you don’t want to lose that link equity. By setting up a redirect, you can transfer the benefit of those inbound links to the other page, not to mention help users avoid a 404 error if they happen to follow one of those links.