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For low-density parity-check (LDPC) codes operating over additive white Gaussian noise channels and decoded using message-passing decoders with limited precision, absorbing sets have been shown to be a key factor in error floor behavior. Focusing on this scenario, this paper introduces the cycle consistency matrix (CCM) as a powerful analytical tool for characterizing and avoiding absorbing sets in separable circulant-based (SCB) LDPC codes. SCB codes include a wide variety of regular LDPC codes such as array-based LDPC codes as well as many common quasi-cyclic codes. As a consequence of its cycle structure, each potential absorbing set in an SCB LDPC code has a CCM, and an absorbing set can be present in an SCB LDPC code only if the associated CCM has a nontrivial null space. CCM-based analysis can determine the multiplicity of an absorbing set in an SCB code, and CCM-based constructions avoid certain small absorbing sets completely. While these techniques can be applied to an SCB code of any rate, lower rate SCB codes can usually avoid small absorbing sets because of their higher variable-node degree. This paper focuses attention on the high-rate scenario in which the CCM constructions provide the most benefit. Simulation results demonstrate that under limited-precision decoding the new codes have steeper error-floor slopes and can provide one order of magnitude of improvement in the low-frame-error-rate region.