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Purchased A Competitors Site - To 301 Or Not To 301?

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#1 alboa


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Posted 23 March 2014 - 06:51 PM

We have purchased one of our competitor’s websites, mainly for the purpose of acquiring some of their tools and site functionality. We want to shut down the site we purchased however, it averages about 5K visitors per month and we would like to redirect that traffic to our site but, without causing any issues with our SERP’s and reputation.
From our research the site we purchased appears to have a decent reputation and has not received any Google penalties. The domain is about 8 yrs old and has a PR of 4 with 278 referring root-domains.
Do we:
  • Match related content between the two sites and apply a 301 to matching pages? If so, what do we do with the pages we’re not able to match – 301 to our home page?
  •  301 all pages to our home page
  • Remove all pages from the purchased website leaving only the home page with information about the takeover and link to our site? We would create a custom 404 page for the deleted pages linking back to our site.
  • 301 all the pages from the purchased site back to its homepage and then link to our site?
  • None of the above - just close down the purchased site?
If we do a 301 option, how long do we have to keep the purchased website active before we can just shut down the domain or should we just leave it up indefinitely?

We would really like to benefit from the traffic of the other site but do not want to compromise our rankings. What do you suggest?

#2 torka


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Posted 24 March 2014 - 08:47 AM

This is primarily a user experience question, IMO.


Are those 5K users a month going to expect to land on your site when they click a link, enter a URL or select a bookmark pointing to your former competitor's site? Or will suddenly finding themselves somewhere they didn't expect to be prove confusing and potentially worrisome? In other words, if you just 301 without warning, will they possibly think the competitor's site has been hacked or that you're some kind of spammers?


I'm guessing the answer is, "probably, at least for a good portion of them."


If it were me, I'd be hitting the back button to get out of there as fast as I could. Probably not the reaction you'd ideally like to see from those 5K visitors. :)


On the other hand, it's also probably silly to turn your back on 5K visitors per month (which is essentially what you'd be doing if you just close down the other site).


So, how about if you 301 the pages you can to the corresponding pages on your site, but also serve a banner across the top of the page or pop-up window to those visitors letting them know why they got to that page and reminding them to update their bookmarks? That way, they know what's happened, understand it's legit, and they still get to the content they were looking for.


For those where there isn't a corresponding page on your site, send them to a custom landing page that alerts them to the transition, lets them know there's no exact corresponding page, and offers them links to other pages that you think might fill the bill.


If for some reason you can't implement a banner or pop-up, I would probably send all the visitors from the old site to the custom landing page. At least that way they don't think the old site has been hacked, and with any luck at least some of them will stick around to check out your site.


My :02:


--Torka :oldfogey:

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#3 Michael Martinez

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 10:05 AM

If we do a 301 option, how long do we have to keep the purchased website active before we can just shut down the domain or should we just leave it up indefinitely?


You own the brand.  You don't have to keep the site active but whatever you do (redirect or not), if you let the domain go someone else will pick it up and ride that coat-tail.

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