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I have one company with 5 business areas. Each business area has a website. Recently we decided to have all these websites merged into one website, the group website.

What is the best way to move these websites without losing the SEO and page ranks?

What do you think about our decision? We believe that if we have just one website covering five business areas, it will circulate and have more traffic than we have at this moment.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Jul 1 '11 at 17:25

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4 Answers

Having one website pros:

  • Easier site maintenance since everything is all in one code base
  • Allows your users to find all of your services easily since they are presented together
  • You can create a natural hierarchy in your website which helps promote the top level pages
  • Cross-linking your inner pages is easier
  • Statistics can be all in one place
  • Cross-selling is easier since the user never has to leave your site

Having one website cons:

  • Only one domain name to get keywords in
  • If for some reason this site gets banned then all of your content is down

Having multiple website pros:

  • Each domain name can be keyword rich for the product or service
  • Each website is focused on one topic which offers less opportunity for confusion or distraction
  • If one site is banned the others will be unaffected

Having multiple website cons:

  • You have five code bases to manage. Even if they are virtually the same keeping them synchronized can be a pain in the butt.
  • If you want to promote your other websites you run the risk of duplicate content if the text is the same across websites

Non-factors:

  • The content isn't going to change
  • The page titles won't change (except for possibly the website tag line at the end of the title)
  • Some will say that multiple domains is better because of "trust" or other link benefits. In reality it doesn't change much.

Misc:

  • If you do go with one website make sure you do 301 redirects from the old URLs to the new URLs. That way both users and search engines know where the content has moved to. This is especially important for SEO since most of your link juice is transferred with 301 redirects. If you don't do the 301 redirects you will essentially be starting from scratch.
  • If pages will be going away after the merger redirect the user (with a 410 HTTP response) to a page that lets them know the page no longer exists and where they may find similar or other useful content on the new website
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An oldies but a goodie - http://www.seomoz.org/blog/expectations-and-best-practices-for-moving-to-or-launching-a-new-domain

One of the best things to do is to actively monitor 404 errors and continuously add 301 redirects to pages that were hit.

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You should add a 301 direct from your old pages to your new domain. Add this php code to your pages to make a 301 redirect:

<?
Header( “HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently” );
Header( “Location: http://www.new-url.com” );
?>
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Are all of your businesses related? If they're not, then you are playing with fire! Google will simply drop you from their index. You can go to site configuration in your Google webmaster account and submit a change of address for each domain to point them to the new domain. I don't recommend doing this though. Why do you have 5 websites that you want to merge together to begin with? You want to cover 5 business areas?

Don't create a website that talks about horses on one page and xbox on another. Google doesn't value websites that have no theme and no given topic. Create a site on a given subject and stick to that subject! Otherwise you will get no traffic!

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