Which URLs do you believe I should bring to the new website?
The reason why this question is important to ask is because each individual page on your website has a different potential and some could likely already be ranking. For instance, with the dentist client in our example above, the Pediatric Dentistry page was their strongest page. It was even stronger than their homepage was!
A page’s URL is essentially its address. If you change it, then it’s going to confuse everybody. So the Pediatric Dentistry page here had the URL of:
We had to make sure that when doing the redesign, this page was also on the new website with the same URL. If this URL happened to change on our redesign, it would result in a 404 error for the old address, meaning that nothing can be found there anymore because we changed it!
Google and other websites that have linked to it would end up sending their users to a page that no longer exists, resulting in them ultimately taking your web site out of their search engine results.
As you could imagine, this could result in a big drop in traffic, especially depending on how well that page was doing before. To see a list of all of the pages that Google has seen on your website, you can come to a regular Google search and type in site colon, and then your domain.
What you’ll see here is a full list of every page and URL that Google currently sees on your website.
All in all, what you’re listening for when asking this question is that the agency you’re choosing to work with has a strategy for moving over your best performing URLs while being considerate when it comes to what pages should be brought over in the first place.
Your goal is to prevent people from expecting to get to a destination based on the old website, and then arriving at a “Page Not Found” when trying to get to that destination on the new website. Too many of these errors will hurt your traffic, and it’ll take a while to build it back up.