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Merging Many Websites Into One
Posted 20 October 2003 - 03:07 PM
I have a new SEO client, with over a dozen B2B websites. Each site is designed for and named after a specific product. Their plan is to eventually move them all into one website, eliminating their nightmare of trying to keep track of all of those individual sites.
My first thought was that, from an SEO point of view, this could be disastrous - because wouldn't it be much easier for each of the products to gain its own rankings with its very own website, rather than having each site become just a folder inside of a much larger website?
However - this new site would be large, and would probably end up having a lot more links to it than any of these individual sites could ever get by themselves. Perhaps that would outweigh any of the negatives.
Posted 20 October 2003 - 03:25 PM
That is a bit of a challenge, and I'm sure you'll get some good responses. Personally, I'd recommend taking a look at how Adobe has addressed this on Adobe.com. The individual products seem to rank just fine.
One challenge in the move is what to do about all the sites who've linked to the current sites. Personally, I'd look them up on Alltheweb.com and send a friendly email to each of them with the updated locations.
Does anyone have any other strategies they've used in similar situations?
Posted 20 October 2003 - 03:57 PM
True that one site is easier to manage than a dozen plus.
You would have to take a hard look at those two questions. If merging, you would most definitely see an initial drop in traffic/rankings but could end up doing much better in the long run. If the company is very dependent on search engine traffic, you may merge content of all sites into one while keeping the individual sites online for awhile but if they are not that dependent on search engine traffic, merge everything into one and see how it goes.
Good luck with it - sounds like a cool project.
Posted 20 October 2003 - 04:10 PM
If going for a 301 redirect, which would instantly moved a user to the new location, try to have it set up as a "smart" 301 redirect, one that would move to the new page from the old one, instead of to the new homepage from any page on the old site.
Posted 21 October 2003 - 09:51 AM
We decided to take a "sub-domain" approach since it was a huge undertaking (something over 2,000 pages total) and search engine visibility was an issue.
We started off by gathering all of the incoming links to each of the sites so that we could write those webmasters over time to get the links changed. Then we created sub-domains for each of the products on the main domain. For instance, if one product was lederhosen (that's for you qwerty) the space for this product on the new site would be lederhosen.domain.com. For their clog products the new space would be at clogs.domain.com. You get the picture.
We found that using this structure saved us a lot headaches all the way around. Once the base of the new site (the www.domain.com address) was ready, we simply moved the product sites entirely to the new subdomains, with all linking structure intact. The only addition we had to make to those pages initially was to create links which lead back to the main site. Rather than add a link block to all of the other products from the get go, each "product area", if you will, had its own site map page. There we provided links to the other product areas.
(Note: Eventually when the redesign was complete there were links to every area from anywhere, but the intial goal was to provide some modicum of navigation ability while I updated each area.)
Then when all of the product areas were moved over to the new domain, we simply set up a smart 301 permanent redirect from the old domains to the new sub-domains. Since the structure of the subs was exactly the same as the old sites had been, it worked like a charm.
I'll not say it was an easy or completely stressless situation, it never is when there are so many pages and so much on the line. But it was a lot better than it would have been trying to roll it all into a single www.domain.com site imo. This approach gave me time to get the product pages updated to the new design, and do a little bit of SEM work on them while I was at it. Plus the keywords for the products continued to rank well throughout with the bump they got from the sub-domain.
Not the only way to do it for sure, but it worked for me. Overall everybody was pretty happy with the process, especially the client was very concerned about the possible negative effects of migrating so much data at one time.
The main point I will stress to you Wendy is to have a coherent plan that everybody has signed off on before you start. You definitely do not want to get in the middle of the process and have things changing on you. Changes during the process, even minor ones, can certainly become a disaster waiting to happen.
Posted 21 October 2003 - 07:38 PM
I think you could probably keep the old url's and have them go to the new site and not have any problems (again, somebody correct me if I'm wrong, I'm still pretty new to this!). I think Jill might have told me both these things.
Posted 21 October 2003 - 07:40 PM
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