What to do with all of those old pages? Whatever you do, don’t delete them. In most cases there is a better solution — 301 Redirect, otherwise known as a “Google-Friendly” redirect.
Do a Google search and you’ll find tons of information on this topic. But, clients still ask “Why?” Here’s my explanation (and this analogy is a bit of a stretch). We all work very hard to have our current content and pages ranked and indexed. Picture climbing a very, very tall mountain — Let’s say Everest. Each new page starts at Base Camp 0 – no associated page rank. Older pages, depending on many ranking factors, could be located anywhere between base camp and the summit. When you redirect the old page to the new page, you give the new page a leg up, based on the elder’s position. So, if you can get a head start, why wouldn’t you??
A second analogy (again, a stretch): Think of heading on a long journey — Maybe driving cross-country, starting in California. You reach Texas and realized that you missed the exit to the Alamo. Do you A, return to California and begin your trip again? Or, B, make a U-turn and quickly get back on track? That’s what I thought!
There are many other reasons for creating redirects, especially if you have a large or popular site — Links! All cross-links and backlinks will become broken if you delete the old page. All of the “link” power will be transferred to the new URL if you use the proper redirect practice.
Finally, if you can possibly make an update to an existing page, without changing the URL, this is the best practice! No need to go creating new pages and re-directs when simple updates to existing pages can be made.
So, what are your common client questions? What analogies do you use to explain the concepts?