The realm of digital real estate is perpetually evolving, as is the need to consolidate and streamline online operations. Merging websites, whether to amalgamate brands or optimize digital resources, is one such activity that has become common.
However, while merging websites, one significant factor that often gets side-lined is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Neglecting SEO considerations could lead to severe repercussions like a drop in rankings and penalties from Google and other search engines.
In this comprehensive blog post, we will delve into the essential aspects you need to consider to maintain your SEO rankings when merging sites. Our aim is to provide you with actionable insights to ensure that your website’s visibility, traffic, and rankings remain unaffected post-merger.
SEO Considerations When Merging Sites by Taseer Ahmad
As you navigate through the merger, one of the most critical aspects to consider is your website content. Every URL from the old site that carries valuable content should ideally be transferred to the new site. If remnants of old content persist on your previous website, it paves the way for duplicate content issues, leading to potential penalties from Google.
Before the merger goes live, thorough auditing of your content is a must. Any missing material, even seemingly minor ones, can disrupt the seamless transition and may result in substantial traffic loss. Every piece of content contributes to the bigger picture, the overall user experience, and the SEO value your site holds.
However, this does not imply that every single page must be carried forward. Pages that do not add significant value or relevance to your new site should be discarded. Maintaining a lean, high-quality website is more beneficial than a larger one cluttered with irrelevant or low-value pages.
Use 301 Redirects
A redirect is a technique that sends users and search engines to a different URL than the one they originally requested. There are two types of redirects – 301 and 302. The distinction lies in their effect on search engines.
A 301 redirect indicates that a site has permanently moved to a new location. This type of redirection is a strong signal to search engines that the old URL should be replaced in their index by the new one. On the other hand, a 302 redirect is viewed as temporary, and search engines may not transfer the link equity from the old URL to the new one.
When merging websites, it’s best to use 301 redirects to ensure a smooth transition of traffic and preservation of your SEO value. This practice ensures that search engines and users are correctly and seamlessly directed to the appropriate pages on your new site.
Post-Merger Checks and Audits
The work doesn’t end with content transfer and setting up 301 redirects; in fact, it’s just the beginning of an important phase – post-merger checks and audits.
The first step in this phase involves creating new XML sitemaps for your new site and notifying Google and Bing of the change of address. This can be done through their respective search consoles, which are powerful tools for website owners to monitor and optimize their site’s presence in search results.
A site walkthrough, or a comprehensive audit of the new site, is crucial to ensure the merger’s success. This step includes manual site checks, data analysis, and a full website crawl. The objective here is to spot any potential errors, assess user experience, and ensure that the transition has been executed properly.
Relying solely on manual checks can leave room for human error. To mitigate this risk, leverage tools like Google Analytics, Bing Webmaster Tools, and a website crawler. These tools can provide valuable insights into your website’s performance and help detect potential issues that might otherwise go unnoticed.
If you encounter any problem, act promptly. Delayed action could harm your SEO rankings and traffic, derailing the objective of the merger. Constant monitoring and swift resolution of issues are crucial during the first few weeks after the merger.
Merging websites is a complex task that requires a strategic approach. A well-planned merger that takes into account SEO considerations can lead to a seamless transition, preserve your digital equity, and position your site for success in its new form.
By giving due importance to content considerations, utilizing 301 redirects, and conducting thorough post-merger checks and audits, you can ensure that your website continues to thrive, serving users and pleasing search engines alike.