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I have two Drupal sites with different content-- let's call them Apple and Orange. I recently developed a much more sophisticated third Drupal site-- let's call it Tree. For a large number of reasons, the content on Apple and Orange is useful for the users of Tree, so I want to move the content to Tree.

However, much of the content is out of date. (This whole process took about five years.) To update the content, I will rewrite it one article at a time myself. Now here's my question: if I move the articles one by one (as I rewrite them) and then redirect the old articles (using a 301 redirect) on Apple/Orange to the new site on Tree, will this have a huge negative effect on my search engine rankings? Is there a good way to redirect among sites when they merge like this, or would I be better off keeping the old articles on Apple/Orange and simply linking them to the new, rewritten articles on Tree?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I'm not certain but I don't think what you suggest will have any negative impact (with 1 caveat) given that you are suggesting using 301 redirects.

The caveat is the age of the domain. Domain age plays a part in Google "trusting" your pages. I have never done a test to see whether a 301 redirect will take this into account if you are directing an old domain to a new one. I hadn't thought of it before seeing your question.

From what you have written though, it sounds like you are doing it right.

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I would also like to add they you should keep the page titles same if not as similar as possible. –  sovarn Oct 29 '12 at 5:48

There is certainly no penalty involved with consolidating two websites and redirecting their URLs.

However, it can take a bit of time for our algorithms to catch up on those redirects (we don't crawl every URL with the same frequency, so it can be weeks or months until we've been able to see all redirects), and with that, it's very possible that you'll see temporary fluctuations during some of that time.

As with other kinds of site moves, remember to do the other things as well:

  • Check internal & external links, and make sure that they point to the new URLs
  • Use the change of address tool where possible.
  • Check crawlability of the new URLs with "Fetch as Google"
  • Submit a Sitemap file of the new URLs
  • Also, double-check all redirects to make sure you're not missing something
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You may have a lower ranking for a short time, but since the process is also going to be slow, I don't think that you will have any real problem.

Also, remember to keep your users up to date, tell them that a change is coming, send them notifications when a new article (or 5) has been moved to the new site, that way, you keep pumping visits and that helps to increase the ranking of the new site, which is what you want in the end.

Another thing to remember, is that you are supposed to be improving the quality of the content of the old articles, that should reflect with more and better visits, which intrinsically will help your rankings.

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