Merging Companies? What To Do With Multiple Websites

Posted by Kelly Braun on August 30, 2022 at 1:32 PM     SEOWebsite
Merging Companies? What To Do With Multiple Websites

You’ve merged companies or acquired a company and now have multiple websites. What should you do with the website you no longer want? Your first thought may be: Take it down! 

Not so fast, our website experts will tell you.

Just like the merged or acquired company is an asset to your business, so is its digital presence. Its website, social media channels, videos and online content have value.

Website users (current and potential customers) may be looking for specific website pages or have web links saved, and if you take down the website, you will create broken links. You don’t want to create a poor user experience when users are already faced with a brand transition.

Also, the website likely will have SEO value, meaning it ranks in the search engines for certain keywords. You can transition that SEO juice to the chosen website if you take the correct steps.

How to Determine the Value of an Acquisition’s Website and Social Media Profiles

Most acquired or merged companies’ digital assets will have some value that can be transferred. To determine what value the acquired company’s digital assets have, start by getting answers to these questions:

  • Does the website have brand equity? Is the brand name recognizable? Do consumers think highly of the brand?
  • What website pages are bringing in the most traffic?
  • What keywords are bringing in the most traffic?
  • Are certain web pages ranking for specific keywords?
  • What website pages do customers convert on?
  • Are there high-value content pieces (ebooks, videos, pdfs, spec sheets, charts, etc.) for customers and/or sales?
  • Does the website have a good backlink profile?
  • Are there social media channels with a significant amount of followers?

With answers to these questions in hand, you can begin to map a plan for transitioning the digital assets and their value to the chosen website.

Steps to Take to Transition Digital Assets

Here are the steps to take when transitioning the digital assets of an acquired or merged company’s website to the acquiring company’s website: 

1. Conduct a Content Audit

Determine what content can be rebranded and repurposed on your website or used by your sales team. If it’s valuable to your customers, use it! Evaluate blog articles, white papers, pdfs, videos, etc., and save those files.

2. Map Out the Website

Create a spreadsheet of all the acquisition’s website pages. Some tools, such as Screaming Frog, SEMrush and Ahrefs, can help do this efficiently and ensure you capture all pages, such as those not shown in the navigation or 404s.

Map out for each page what its best match page is on your website. Mapping involves listing every existing URL on the acquired website and pairing it with a new URL on the chosen website.

Consider the SEO value/keyword ranking on each page and the user intent. If there’s not a good match page, consider if you should create that page on your website. 

Ultimately, you are creating a map for how to redirect each page to the best possible page of the acquiring company’s website. This helps create a seamless experience for users/customers, so they don’t encounter broken links and also helps search engines effectively transition the digital value from one website to the other.

3. Put in Place 301 Redirects

With the list in hand, put in place the appropriate 301 redirects. Be sure these are 301 redirects, which are permanent and transfer SEO link juice.

In most cases, you will not want to blanket redirect all pages to the other’s home page. Blanket redirect pages will not transfer as much SEO value and can cause a poor user experience.

4. Test and Monitor

Once the redirects are in place, test them to ensure they are working properly. Tools, such as WordPress plug-ins, can make this process much more efficient than manually testing each URL.

Ensure each page is indexed in Google and note its search position. You may find its search position has changed, however, the likelihood of losing all SEO value is minimized when you put in place a comprehensive redirect plan. Since SEO is not an exact science and takes time, begin monitoring and optimizing for SEO

5. Hold on to the Domain Name

It is likely best to hold onto the acquired company’s domain name for several years. You do not want another company to purchase the domain, create a new website and cause immediate confusion for users. Releasing or selling the domain name should not be done until you feel consumers have fully transitioned to the new company. It’s best to consult with an attorney when selling a domain.

7. Merge Social Media Profiles

The acquired company’s social media channels also should be merged with the chosen company to depict a cohesive brand. Inform and prepare your social audiences for the transition.

Update imagery, descriptions, and calls to action, so all match the new branding.

Some social media networks, like Facebook and LinkedIn, have strict rules for merging profiles or changing names, while others do not offer any official merging options.

Informing Users of the Merged Websites and Social Media Channels

As part of your PR plan to announce the acquisition or merger, be sure to include a plan to inform those on your digital platforms. You don’t want to lose potential customers because they are confused when redirected to an unfamiliar website or social media channel.

At a minimum, put an announcement on your website and social media channels with a link to the official press release that announces the acquisition or merger. You may want to consider placing a website banner that displays on all website pages.

Need Assistance?

Need help managing your web presence and SEO during a merger or acquisition? Ensure a smooth transition by contacting Marketing Essentials. We are a full-size digital marketing agency with experts in content audits, SEO and website development.