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Site A PR 7
Site B PR 6
(Both rank well in the search engines and have thousands of pages)
Site A buys out the competition (Site B) then 301 permanent redirects all Site B traffic to Site A
Would Site A see a temporary or permanent PR boost?
Could it see a PR decline (I can't imagine this happening)?
Would there be a better way to merge the two sites, assuming the content on site B is not usable? Would it be better to do it on a page-by-page level: for example, the articles on "widgets" on site B would all redirect to the "widget" section of site A and the articles on "rubber ducks" would redirect to site A's "rubber toys" section?
If I were you, I would keep siteB even with the same Whois information for a period of time and during that I would try to smoothly transfer siteB's traffic to siteA. I would do it by:
1. changing the backlinks of siteB to siteA by contacting the sites that link to siteB and requesting a change.
2. using a very-well hidden link on all pages of siteB to siteA for more information and/or purchase procedure.
3. adding (smoothly again) content of siteA to siteB and removing some non-useful content of siteB.
Just my 2 cents...
PS. BTW, do NOT transfer the hosting of siteB to the same IP as siteA!
1. Keep both sites. This is the offline equivalent. There's more work involved in running two sites, but you keep all the traffic.
2. Kill site B. This removes the competion but may lose all of site B's traffic.
3. Try to merge the two sites. This appears to offer cost savings, but it's hard to see how you can really pull it off without losing some traffic. If you bought site B for its content, then you might want to strip the content and put it on site A. If you bought it for its traffic, then merging the two sites will inevitably lose traffic. If you bought it for its links and you manage to successfully transfer all the links over to site A, then site A's traffic will grow, but the overall traffic might still fall.
I don't know the answers to these questions, but I'd really be interested in hearing what others think.
I'd redirect the main page immediately, but I wouldn't move all other pages too fast.
The most reasonable way in moving from 2 sites to site A would be moving content gradually. Google likes to see growing amount of content, so try to move some pages every month, make 301 from old locations, and watch site:www.siteb.com results. Only after old URLs (from site B) are replaced with new (from site A), update links to these pages in site B. Keep all 301 redirects indefinitely, because you have no control on all backlinks site B had.
I think this would be good way, in result your PR could go up to 8, but not certainly (and you couldn't see it sooner than after PR update), and SERPS of site A would go up because of new, fresh content. But this is just my opinion, and more experienced members may think differently.
I would also place 301 redirect on all internal pages. This will may transfer PR temorarly, but will eventually die as there is no real links to internal pages anymore. The benefit you get from the 301 redirect of interal pages is if they are still getting traffic, then they will be redirected.
This is something you should already do for the benefit of your visitors. Apart from that, it will distribute PR more evenly across your site A.
Well, I have no real experience on your scenario but I would certainly suggest NOT to put a 301 redirect to siteA from siteB. This may cause a penalty by Google.
There's no reason why Google should give a penalty for a normal 301.
>assuming the content on site B is not usable?
If the content is totally unrelated to site A then I doubt passing pr from these pages will do much good, nor passing visitors. If the content is related then I'm sure you can think of a way to adapt site B to become 'usable'.
Messing with a site that ranks well is crazy. Cross linking the sites with static deep links to try and make some pages on site A rank better is the best bet, especially if the sites are not on the same ip and this can be done in a genuine way for the user as well. Too much cross linking may harm site B but probably not. I would keep all the links one way, with no links from site A back to site B.
I would concentrate on making site B more 'usable' rather than worrying about pr transfer. Making what you already have work better for the user (and your bank balance) is safer than having a 'one site' business which is thus over exposed to the whims of Google. Changing the optimisation techniques on site B so that you cover algo changes would provide long term stability and in my opinion give you the most benefit.