I'm researching what the best practices are for merging multiple domains into one single domain (that already exists) and I wanted to know if any one had advice, tips, strategies, and case studies on that topic. I'm looking at merging 4 websites into one single one, so for example we have websites A,B,C, and D - I'd like to merge sites B, C, and D into website A (which already exists). The content on all sites is unique and we'd like to merge them because they all fall in the same industry but just different parts of that industry (we publish trade news). I've been doing research on this for the past couple of weeks and have a base idea, but there isn't that much information out there. Here's what i have gathered so far:
- Keep the host IP the same
- Extensive 301 redirect map - ALL unique, useful or authoritative pages (URLs) of the legacy site should redirect to pages with the same or very relevant content on the new site, using 301 redirects. Thus the 301 redirect would be on a page level rather than just a root level in order to pass as much link juice.
- Create a sitemap XML file at the same URL on both domains
- Submit the old sitemap file a few weeks before transition
- Submit the new XML sitemap file as soon as the domain goes live
- Ping Bing and Google with the old sitemap XML file URLs, being sure that the old sitemaps would respond with a 301 redirect to the new files
- New Site On Test Server (password-protecting the test environment)
- Submit change of address for the legacy sites that we are consolidating.
I did watch the video that Matt Cutts posted about this although it wasnít too informational but this is what I got from it:
1) Use 301 permanent redirects.
2) Start with the site that is the weakest and merge that into the strongest site (the final one).
3) Donít just redirect everything to the root Ė redirect them on a page level.
4) Donít just move everything at once Ė move it in stages as you see the transition.
If any one has any thoughts on this I'd greatly appreciate it. What I'm trying to find out is if we do this will it help the main site (A) gain more authority and rank higher for certain keywords than having four separate websites that aren't updated as frequently as website A due to publishing frequencies. So essentially, after all is said and done you'll have one larger site (site A) that has more content and technically more backlinks pointing towards it.