Home > SEO Disasters – Shutting Down a Website Post Merger
October 9, 2013

SEO Disasters – Shutting Down a Website Post Merger

Sometimes new media and old media can clash and when it happens, SEO disaster can happen. Recently, we heard about such an SEO disaster and thought it really shined the light on how some old media types don’t view websites as assets but really cost center liabilities. This is really a shame, because in the new media world they are much more asset than cost and can pay off for years and years. 

Let’s look at the case of one company buying another. When a company acquires another company they will value the assets it has and then merge those assets into it’s infrastructure so those assets are worth more or can deliver increased economies of scale. Websites in this regard are no different. If for example a website with over 200 blog posts and pages is acquired, the last thing a company should do is shut it down. Why? It’s simple. The website is an asset that already has the following:

  1. Ranked keywords which could be anywhere from ten to thousands of keywords and phrases especially of the long – tail variety
  2. Links that over time have presumably grown through press releases, social media posts etc. Some links may even be referenced from .edu or .gov sites that contain an extraordinary amount of SEO potential. Other links from highly authoritative sites like the New York Times are also highly valued links which again are assets of the website.
  3. Similar to links is the referring traffic those links generate back to the website.
  4. Content that has already been written can always be repurposed in the form of eBooks or articles or ideas for more blog posts.

The last thing a company should do look at the asset is to shut down the website without integrating the assets into the company base. 

So now that we are able to see that a website owned by an acquiring company has some value, how to integrate into another company’s website? It’s actually a fairly simple process. Start with a plan. You will need to migrate the content and this will take some amount of knowledge on the system each company is using. Today, most companies are using content management systems like WordPress, Drupal or Joomla. Any company using straight HTML should simply migrate the website to one of those systems, other customer PHP systems might need some finesse in migrating the content, but regardless a migration plan will be fairly straight forward as you are moving pages from one system to another. Automated scripts may need to be used if the site being merged is over 200 pages, anything under that can probably be done via hand, which may be tedious but is probably faster and cheaper.

Once the migrations is complete, 301 redirects will need to be established. This will let Google and Bing know that the content has moved and will redirect any traffic destined for the old website to the new website.  It will also give the new website credit for the links on their website, thereby increasing the website’s domain authority. This is really where an economy of scale for the acquiring company can occur, because those links can help raise the content profiles of all the website pages. Simply getting those content pages into the Google top ten where 71% of people click can drive more traffic to a website.

SEO Disasters – Shutting Down a Website Post Merger

Sometimes new media and old media can clash and when it happens, SEO disaster can happen. Recently, we heard about such an SEO disaster and thought it really shined the light on how some old media types don’t view websites as assets but really cost center liabilities. This is really a shame, because in the new media world they are much more asset than cost and can pay off for years and years. 

Let’s look at the case of one company buying another. When a company acquires another company they will value the assets it has and then merge those assets into it’s infrastructure so those assets are worth more or can deliver increased economies of scale. Websites in this regard are no different. If for example a website with over 200 blog posts and pages is acquired, the last thing a company should do is shut it down. Why? It’s simple. The website is an asset that already has the following:

  1. Ranked keywords which could be anywhere from ten to thousands of keywords and phrases especially of the long – tail variety
  2. Links that over time have presumably grown through press releases, social media posts etc. Some links may even be referenced from .edu or .gov sites that contain an extraordinary amount of SEO potential. Other links from highly authoritative sites like the New York Times are also highly valued links which again are assets of the website.
  3. Similar to links is the referring traffic those links generate back to the website.
  4. Content that has already been written can always be repurposed in the form of eBooks or articles or ideas for more blog posts.

The last thing a company should do look at the asset is to shut down the website without integrating the assets into the company base. 

So now that we are able to see that a website owned by an acquiring company has some value, how to integrate into another company’s website? It’s actually a fairly simple process. Start with a plan. You will need to migrate the content and this will take some amount of knowledge on the system each company is using. Today, most companies are using content management systems like WordPress, Drupal or Joomla. Any company using straight HTML should simply migrate the website to one of those systems, other customer PHP systems might need some finesse in migrating the content, but regardless a migration plan will be fairly straight forward as you are moving pages from one system to another. Automated scripts may need to be used if the site being merged is over 200 pages, anything under that can probably be done via hand, which may be tedious but is probably faster and cheaper.

Once the migrations is complete, 301 redirects will need to be established. This will let Google and Bing know that the content has moved and will redirect any traffic destined for the old website to the new website.  It will also give the new website credit for the links on their website, thereby increasing the website’s domain authority. This is really where an economy of scale for the acquiring company can occur, because those links can help raise the content profiles of all the website pages. Simply getting those content pages into the Google top ten where 71% of people click can drive more traffic to a website.

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