I have been designing a new company website on Wordpress. Its design and content is all entirely different from the old site. The old site was quite confusing, organizationally speaking, with lots of very similar pages with slightly different text. The new site does a better job of consolidating relevant information into appropriate pages.
Several of the old pages rank on Google, and we want to maintain these positions for the new consolidated page, as far as possible. I had planned on simply using 301 redirects to send visitors from the multiple old pages to the one, new consolidated page for each subject. So, for example:
would all be 301 redirected to:
To the extent that this consolidation reduces the overall number of pages on the site—and reduces the number of internal links connecting them—will this negatively impact page rankings? How much?
My company has a pre-existing relationship with a web marketing/SEO person (who, in fact, was responsible for the old site). He says that to maintain our SEO position, we should not redirect the old pages to the new ones, in the manner I described above, but instead recreate each and every page from the old website, leaving the content the same as it was, but not linking to these "new" old pages in the main navigation on the new site. Here are his full comments:
"We need to retain all of the existing website pages. They need to exist on the new website (excluding contact us pages). We then needs to take the content from [the old] pages and build a new corresponding page using the new website’s creative branding (template). These new pages WILL NOT be linked in the navigation. The web user will not be looking for this pages when they are on the website. But these 100+ existing web pages that we have within the current web site, are critical to many existing pages that rank. It’s essential we create these landing pages or risk losing all of the rank we have built in the last decade. The drop would be very quickly and the inbound sales leads [SEO company] generates every month via phone and email would begin to dry up.
"We have layers upon layers upon layers of linking structures. If we remove many pages from the site, that infrastructure which is so vital will collapse. It’s not different than if [SEO company] deleted all of the accounts that we have created over the years that push to those web pages."
My question: what should I make of his advice? From a user and branding perspective, I'm against the idea—one of the key reasons for creating a new website was to consolidate and update information according to a wider company rebranding, and I wouldn't want visitors from Google to be redirected to pages with content from the old website. From an SEO perspective, his comments seem to contradict other resources I have read online, but as someone who is decidedly not an expert in matters SEO-related, I wanted to get an informed opinion before raising this issue with the final decision-makers.
Thanks in advance for your input!