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A few months ago the company that I work for acquired another company along with their website. Recently we took their site down and simply redirected the url of the acquired site via DNS to ours.

Is this the best way to handle the redirects or should we have redirected old pages to the relevant new pages on our website? We adjusted the DNS about a week ago and Google seems to be doing a fairly decent job of figuring out which pages to take the user to. For example when I google one of their products the new page on our site comes up in the results.

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Using DNS is not a redirect. You simply pointed another domain name to the same server. Nothing more. There is serious danger in this in that you will/can end up with duplicate content that will harm SERP performance severely.

TO avoid this, traditionally, you would want to have both domains configured on a web server (it does not have to be the same server) and do a 301 redirect from the old site to the new site. Often this is done with a blanket redirect from the old companies site to the new site and then redirects for particular pages one at a time on the new site to match the URI from the old site to point to the appropriate page on the new site. If you do not have a matching page from the old site to the new site, it is okay to let it return a 404 Not Found error though if you can, a 410 Gone error is better but may be more work that you want to do. This way, you avoid the duplicate content issue.

I would suggest doing this quickly since you have already allowed the search engines spider both sites. You will want to make the changes quickly to avoid as much loss of SERP performance as possible. This can be done with an audit of both sites and not worrying about pages that do not matter. Just focus on the ones that do matter.

[Update]

Here is an example of a blanket redirect:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^oldsite\.com$ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www\.oldsite\.com$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.newsite.com/$1 [R=301,L]

I would be putting this on the old site to redirect the entire thing over to the new site.

Here is an example of a specific page redirect:

Redirect permanent /about/aboutus.html  http://www.newsite.com/aboutus/

I would be putting this on the new site to redirect specific pages one at a time. Of course, you can redirect entire directories or do not need a redirect of the URI (path/pages) are identical.

  • Doesn't the blanket 301 from the old site remove the page that the user was originally on? So what good is the 301 from the old page to the new page on the new website/server? So if I try to go to www.aquired.com/product/blue-widget and it redirects to www.new-owner.com, what good is the redirect from /product/blue-widget on the server where www.new-owner.com resides? – brandozz Jan 12 '15 at 17:25
  • My bad!! If you want the old page on the new server, you simply move it over. If the sites use two different CMS, then there is a technical issue that has to be looked at. But it does not sound like this is your situation. Perhaps I am not understanding you correctly. I got that you have both domain names pointing to the same site. Is that right?? – closetnoc Jan 12 '15 at 17:32
  • Ok, that's basically what we did, blanket redirect from the old site to the new and recreated the pages on our new site. The urls are not the same thought, should I create redirects that mimic the old site/page structure to the new? – brandozz Jan 12 '15 at 17:35
  • I would only for the pages on the old site I want represented. I would then find the best page on the new site to redirect to. Otherwise, I would not redirect a page from the old site that I do not care about. That way, it will 404 error and be removed from the search engines eventually. – closetnoc Jan 12 '15 at 17:39
  • So this redirect is basically just created for search engines correct? Since the blanket redirect from the old site goes to the home page of the new. – brandozz Jan 12 '15 at 17:44

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