How to merge two websites without damaging SEO performance

SEO

When you merge two businesses you have a big decision to make when it comes to your website, especially if you rely on it for bringing in leads and sales.

You’ll need to combine the two websites for the new brand, but how can you do that without losing the traffic or authority you’ve built up over the years?

The process can be complicated, and comes with huge risks if you don’t do it properly.

But, if you plan for the merger and follow some basic steps along the way, you can create a new website that can maintain most (if not all) of your previous traffic. 

You could even increase it if done effectively. 

 

Planning stage

When merging two sites it’s inevitable that you’re going to lose pages that cover the same topics/services etc. 

But you need to make sure you don’t delete high performing pages and keep the ones with low views and engagement. 

You need to jump into Google Analytics and your SEO tools to figure out which pages are worth keeping and what you need to delete. 

What you need to look out for: 

  • Pages that bring in lots of traffic

You’ll want to keep these. Your site visitors clearly enjoy it and find it helpful.

If you have a high performing page covering the same topic on both sites, use the one with the highest views and engagement levels. You can also combine them if there is extra information on one, just add it into the other. 

  • High converting pages (that turn visitors into leads and customers)

If you’re selling products on your site, a main goal would be to attract new customers. By keeping these pages you can be sure to achieve this. 

  • Find any pages that are ranking highly for your target keywords

If you already have pages that are ranking for the main keywords, you’ll want to make sure you bring those pages and their search authority over to your new website.

  • Pages with backlinks 

Backlinks are the hardest thing to earn for a website, so you definitely need to keep pages with them to help maintain your authority after you’ve merged. 

To find these pages, check your SEO tools.

  • Pillar pages and evergreen content 

You want to keep any existing content that is still relevant as well as links to your priority pages. These are important to direct your viewers through the site. 

Pillar pages often prop up their supporting pages so you need to carry this content over to the new site. 

  • Any new services 

If you’re adding to your business’ services by combining two companies, make sure you add all your new services to the new site. 

This could include prices, delivery information and contact pages. 

  • Any duplicate pages that you’ll need to remove. 

Having multiple pages of the same content looks messy and unprofessional. 

Take some time to remove duplicate pages and refine your content. 

 

Plan your new site structure

Once you’ve audited your site and figured out which high performing pages you’ll be bringing over, you need to plan a new site structure.

 Take your high performing pages and start to create a URL structure, this will help you figure out the gaps you’ve got and any new content you need to create. 

One tip is make sure your high performing service pages sit at the top of your site structure because these carry the most authority.

It will help you maintain SEO and traffic performance after the sites are merged.

Once you’ve got your plan in place, you can move to the next stage.

 

Pre merger

Before you actually go ahead with the merger, you need to take stock of where your site is right now.

This will help you figure out if you’ve seen any significant drops in ranking or traffic. 

Take an audit of your site’s traffic, including individual page traffic of the pages you’ll be bringing into the new site.

When  running a website, it’s important you have an in-depth understanding of keywords.

Using a keyword audit means you can see the current ranking position of your keywords. 

Review your conversion rates on your main sales pages.

If you’ve been running a business for a while you’re probably used to doing this already, but it’s even more important post-merger as you need to monitor what is working well and encouraging sales. 

These will form your performance benchmark that you’ll need later. 

Finally, make sure you create a complete backup of both sites.

If you run into a technical problem during the merger, you need to make sure you have a version of both websites saved that you can go back to.

One of the most important things you do before merging your websites, is to create a complete backup of both sites.

Technical problems can emerge during this process, so keep a version of both sites that you can go back to if anything goes wrong. 

Without a back up, you could lose your sites.

 

Merger phase

 When the sites are merged, all you can do is keep an eye on the process and make sure everything fits with your site map from the planning stage. 

Keep your performance benchmark on hand to keep track of your process and remind you what you want to achieve from the merger. 

 

Post merger 

Once your sites have been merged, the job’s done right? Wrong.

Now you need to keep a very close eye on your new website’s traffic and SEO rankings.

Have they dropped, have they improved, or have they stayed the same?

Watching this shows you what is working well and what isn’t. 

This shows you what you need to change in order to boost up your rankings. 

You will probably see an immediate drop in ranking and traffic at first, but this is just Google starting to crawl, index and rank the new site.

It may take a while to see positive results, so stay patient. 

If the drop is significant and sustained, then you might have a serious problem that needs to be fixed.

Keep an eye on the performance for a few months.

Compare the top performing pages from before and after the merger to make sure they’re still performing well.

After that, you should be good to go with the new website.

 

Benefits of merging your two websites

Provided you do a website merger right, there’s loads of benefits you can get for your new brand:

Increases organic traffic

  • If you’ve got two websites selling similar services you could end up competing with each other for the same keywords and damaging the rankings of both websites. By combining websites you can take the best bits of both sites and create a single site with the combined authority of both sites

Reduce site maintenance

  • By combining two sites into one you only have to manage one website, which will reduce both the time you spend maintaining and the cost of running your site. 

Improve your technical SEO

  • This is the perfect chance to update all your pages to create a more user friendly experience. You can also run an audit on your technical SEO to fix any issues that are holding your website back. This is an important one, if your website users enjoy their experience, they are more likely to come back. 

Create a better site architecture

  • Merging two websites is also a perfect chance to audit how your site is structured and how all the pages link together. You can remove low performing URLs and reorganise your category pages into a better structure
  • Again, this can improve your user experience, which is what you want. 

Get rid of duplicate content

  • A lot of websites have duplicate content without the owners realising. If you’re merging two sites, you can now run a content audit to identify any duplicate content across the two sites to remove any duplication and improve the content

 

Conclusion

The merging of websites is a complicated process and can be disastrous if not done right. Take your time to make sure it improves your SEO performance and boost traffic. 

If you need the technical expertise of our SEO and web team, get in touch today. 

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