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How to Consolidate 2 Websites into a Single Site Without Losing Google Rank or Authority

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This member wants to consolidate 2 similar sites that she owns and maintains into a single site. Both sites do well in Google searches and she doesn’t want to lose that. We discuss different strategies for consolidating the sites and then the system of 301 redirects that will be required to keep in Google’s good graces.

Video Transcript

My main thing right now, I think I sent you this in the forum. I really want to consolidate my 2 real estate sites.

Yup.

I’ve made the decision but I just want to do it in a way that’s the wisest way to do it and of course, the most efficient way to do it. The good news is that really, the one that I want to incorporate to it doesn’t have its fund of content yet. So that’s my question.

Well, what you would do is you want to make sure you know which of you know, what the addresses are of the pages that you have on that site that have content and you want to create 301 redirects for each of those pages directing to its corresponding page on the consolidated site. So for example, if… well, let’s see. The easiest thing to do here is to draw a picture.

Sorry about that. I’m going to mute this.

It’s okay. I’m going to draw a picture here. Okay so we’ve got our… you know, you have one site which is your Rockland County Real Estate, right?

Correct.

So rocklandcountyrealestate and you have your other site which is the…

ourhamlets.com

And we’re consolidating this one into this one, right?

You’re consolidating ourhamlets.com into rocklandcountyrealestate.

Okay so we are going this way with it. Okay now let’s say that you have 3 pages over here and let’s call it homes…

I have quite a few posts in there.

Well, you’re going to have to do the same thing for all of this stuff though, pages and posts. Condos… and then Contact Us. So you’ve got those 3 pages over here and what you need to do is when you kill this site, you need to redirect these URLs to pages over here.

Obviously, you would set up the redirect before you kill the site.

You set up the redirect before you kill the site. And so, the redirect for this, this URL here looks like http://www.rocklandcountyrealestate.com/homes. Okay, that’s your current URL there and this URL for this is ourhamlets.com, right? So you need to create a one to one correspondence from this page to that page using the 301 redirect. And so, for every single page and post that you have over here, you need a 301 redirect to redirect it to its equivalent. Now let’s say that you have, for example, another page here. That doesn’t have a corresponding page. So let’s see, pre-owned condos. Okay, you don’t have a corresponding page to that over here on the site. You still want to redirect this page to a page over here.

Can I just say something here?

The pages are ourhamlets.com… let me just give you a little education on what our… ourhamlets.com is an area of about 1200 condos. It’s my niche, my market niche or niche or whatever. And so ourhamlets.com is… there’s no repetition. It’s all new content coming in to Rockland County Real Estate. Does that make sense?

It does.

Okay so…

So then what you’re going to do is you’re going to create those new pages over here and create new posts that correspond to your new posts and create a 301 redirect from these pages to these pages.

So whatever way we’re talking, we’re talking about a 301 redirect. And I guess I’ve got to take some more courses on this 301 redirect.

Well, now we have just published though a whole series on the 301 redirects. And so, in fact, I think it was published in the last couple of days on the site so there’s lots of… there’s plenty of material on how to create the 301 redirects. The first thing to do would be simply to recreate everything over here first. And once everything over here is recreated then you can take your time creating the redirects from this site to this site.

Now when you say recreate, Rick, do you mean… for instance, my landing page at ourhamlets.com. Would I take the whole… the content just as it is, make a new page as if I had built it from scratch in Rockland County Real Estate? Not 100% sure.

Well, if you want that or if you’ve already got a Rockland County Real Estate landing page…

I do.

You could just point the old landing page address to that landing page and then you know, you would essentially be dispensing with the old content and anybody who would ordinarily be directed to your old content will be automatically be forwarded to the consolidated site.

But then don’t I have to be concerned about… because I still have that site, I would have to be concerned about keeping it updated and etcetc?

No because the 301 redirect automatically stops somebody from getting to that page or that URL. And automatically directs them to the new URL.

Okay but if that blog is taken… my goal is to remove the blog entirely

Sure.

From WordPress. I’m sorry, it sounds like I need to learn more about 301 so that I can…

No, the concept right now is what we’re talking about. The stuff I have on the site talks about the mechanics but the concept is when somebody tries to go to this page… let’s say home is your landing page. Somebody tries to go to your landing page over here on ourhamlets.com. A 301 redirect will automatically redirect them from this URL whether it exists or not. It will automatically redirect them from this URL over to this URL.

So even if I didn’t have the domain name anymore, at some point, it will still do that?

No, you’ll have to maintain the domain name but you don’t have to have anything in that domain except anhtaccess file that directs… that has the list of 301 redirects.

Okay.

But you will… once you eliminate the domain name, it’s gone.

Okay, that makes sense.

So the process then is to create the Rockland County Real Estate, the consolidated site the way you want it and then anything over here at ourhamlets.com that you don’t care about anymore and that you don’t want, you can just ignore.

Okay.

But anything that is over here that should be pointed over here that is, any of the content over here that you do care about that somebody may have linked to, that Google may have indexed, that has any value whatsoever… that content should be directed or the URL with that content should be directed someplace over here. Now the best thing to do is to direct it to its corresponding content. So if you’ve got aourhamlets.com landing page and rocklandcountyrealestate.com landing page then ourhamlets.com landing page should simply be directed over to this one, okay? But if you’re no longer selling condos and you got a condos page here and you don’t care about condo sales anymore, you don’t have to redirect this page to something. In fact, what you could do is you could redirect the condos page just to your homepage simply so that if somebody still might inadvertently land here, it takes them over to you but it doesn’t necessarily go to a corresponding page.

Okay so still not 100% clear on this. Let’s talk about my landing page at ourhamlets.com. Do I actually physically paste that content as if I were going to cut and paste, let’s say.

Do you want to? Do you want it cut and pasted over on here?

I do. A lot of the content is important content because Google is… for those keywords, I’m on the first page of Google.

Is it going into a brand new page or is it being added to an existing page, that content?

I think most of them will be brand new pages and brand new posts.

Okay but we’re talking about the landing page in particular right now.

Okay well let’s just keep it to the landing page. The landing page right on ourhamlets.com will become a new page. It will not be incorporated into the landing page at rocklandcountyrealestate.com.

Okay so that is the easiest example where the content has a one to one correspondence and where what you are doing is you are creating a page at Rockland County Real Estate that didn’t exist and you’re putting the content from ourhamlets into that page. And then you are pointing the ourhamlets page to the Rockland County Real Estate page. That’s conceptually the simplest scenario.

I guess I’d have to… I’m such a visual learner. I guess I’d have to…

Okay well, do you have a condos page in Rockland County Real Estate?

I do.

Okay, well instead of that then what we’ll do is we’ll take this Contact Us page. I know you’d want to keep that. We’re going to add a new page to this and we’re going to call that… what would you call your new landing page? The landing page that’s going to take the ourhamlets content?

I will just call it Hamlets and as a matter of fact, right now, if you were at Rockland County… I call it RockCRE for short. If you were at RockCRE, you’d see a tab and it says Hamlets and you click on that tab, thanks to your wonderful videos. It now goes out to ourhamlets.com, it goes to the landing page of ourhamlets.com.

Okay so now you’re going to create a page here in Rockland County Real Estate though called Hamlets.

Right.

Okay and now you’ve got a landing page over here. What’s it called?

The landing page at ourhamlets?

It’s called… I think it’s called Manuette Condos and Townhouses.

I would just call it Manuette Condos. Okay so that’s your landing page. What you’re going to do is you’re going to cut and paste the content out of this and paste it into here and then you’re going to create a 301 redirect from here to here.

Okay show me that again.

You’ve created a brand new page called Hamlets under Rockland County Real Estate. You have cut the content out of your existing ourhamlets landing page. You cut that content out and you paste it in the new page and then you create a 301 redirect pointing this URL to that URL. That’s what a 301 redirect does. It says, “Oh you wanted to go to this page? Well, instead of going to this page, this address, I’m going to point you to a different address.”

So the search engines are essentially saying to the visitor, “The content is still here, it’s just someplace else.”

Well, in fact, the website is telling the search engine that the content is moved. 301 redirect means permanent redirection and it is an instruction for web servers that Google bot can read… do read and have to follow actually because the server knows that this URL has now been redirected to this URL. So the server will never serve this page. If somebody from Google tries to get to this page, your server turns them around and points them over here whether they like it or not, it automatically happens. Now what happens then is Google takes note of that and will take whatever links it has associated with this and will then directly, direct those links here. And so, Google will stop thinking about links to here as links to here and within a month or so, this connection here, in Google’s mind, will be gone. And from now on, any links that might have gone here, Google will automatically point here.

Okay which brings up a question then since you said in about a month or so. So it’s possible then, initially, that I may see… as I said right now, I’m on the first page of Google and actually in first position and I’m willing to live with the fact that I know it’s probably going to go away for a while but eventually, it should come back. Am I right?

No. Manuette Condos is definitely not going to show up in the index anymore because you’ve taken it out of the index. Butwhat will happen is whatever value Manuette Condos had, it will have passed to Hamlets. So any page rank, any authority, any reason why Google would point somebody to Manuette Condos, Google will transfer to Hamlets without any lag time.

Okay, let me say it another way. I guess what I mean is the landing page that I took from ourhamlets which now become incorporated into RockCRE and it’s just simply now a page but before I moved it, enjoyed good placement on Google for those keywords, right? So now, since I moved it over to RockCRE, even though it’s not a landing page, will it some point… will I suffer…

You shouldn’t suffer any downtime on that at all as long as you’ve got a 301 redirect there because the landing page idea? That’s a concept that you have. It’s not a concept that Google has. A landing page is just your way of talking about it but as far as Google’s concerned, it’s an HTML page and just like any of the billions of HTML pages you know, it have some authority, it has some page rank. Google understands it having you know, a certain kind of content and a certain type of keywords. And as soon as that 301 redirect is in place, all of the authority that this Manuette Condos landing page had will be immediately passed to Hamlets.

Okay so it sounds like I’m getting fogged down and worrying about placement and all that stuff, right?

Well the 301 redirect is the solution. If you don’t put a 301 redirect in there, you’ll definitely lose it. As soon as Google tries to find Manuette Condos and can’t, Google says, “Oh, there’s a 404 error there.” And it’s not going to knock you down too much at first because it’ll assume that there’s just a problem that will have been resolved. But if it gets a 404 error several days in a row, it’s going to assume that page no longer exists and whatever keywords, whatever authority, whatever page rank that page had is gone. Period. So the only way to preserve that when you do this is with a 301 redirect. And whether that’s within a site or between 2 sites, it’s still the same issue. If you’ve got a page with authority and with keywords that Google displays and you rename it or you move it or you do something with it that makes the URL change, you have to do a 301 redirect if you want to retain that Google benefit.

I understand.

Now it doesn’t have to be the exact same page. You could, if you didn’t have a Hamlets landing page, if you just had this Manuette Condos and you wanted to pass the page rank and authority for Manuette Condos to this site but you didn’t have this Hamlets landing page that was a one to one correspondence then what you can do is you could simply point it to another page and it would still pass its page rank and authority. But if those keywords weren’t present on that page, it would no longer… the keywords wouldn’t follow.

You mean the keywords, being on the page that you’re forwarding it… that you’re redirecting it to.

Yes, you’d need to have keywords on… if you don’t have a… the easiest solution was a one to one correspondence. Manuette Condos to Hamlets and this page goes away but this page entirely replaces it. Now the 2nd scenario is where you do not have a one to one correspondence. That is Manuette Condos and you’re never going to have a page that simply replaces this over here but it still has page ranks and it still gets a notice in search engines. Then you would still do a 301 redirect to another page over here. The page gets the most like and it would pass its authority and page rank to that page even though there’s no one to one correspondence.

Even if they don’t have… I’m sorry.

However, if this had a bunch of keywords in it that this page doesn’t have, these keywords are not going to move over here automatically. You would need to put content in this page that had those keywords in it in order for this page to retain it, this page’s keyword indexing with Google.

So if the pages do have similar content then I don’t have to do the manual work on that particular page of cutting and pasting and creating a new page.

Right. If it has similar content, that’s right.

That’s cool, okay. Now, one other question. What would be, if any, benefits instead of RockCRE absorbing ourhamlets.com… would it be better, easier, beneficial to make it a subdomain of RockCRE or am I in an entirely different…

You have exactly the same issue.

Okay.

Whether it’s a subdomain or not, it is nevertheless a…whether it’s a subdomain or whether it’s a separate domain, you have precisely the same issue associated with the 301 redirect issue, page rank, authority, keyword, all that stuff. As soon as you have changed the URL, you have to grapple with the 301 redirect. I can’t…

To making it a subdomain, Rick?

I don’t think so, no.

Okay.

Especially since you’ve already have it as a separate system. If you thought there was a benefit in having it as a separate domain then… well, if you thought there was a benefit to it being a separate domain or a subdomain then since you have it already as a subdomain, I would leave it that way because the subdomain is still going to have… I mean, the separate domain is going to have more authority than a subdomain.

Right.

Well, it’s just too much work. It’s just really… and as you know, I’ve got the other angelachan.com and that’s beginning to absorb…. I want to have more time to work over there too. I’m really split in two so I have to make the changes.

Well, it sounds like consolidating is not a bad idea then and you’re just going to have to spend some time cutting pasting and creating pages and then doing the 301 redirect thing. So the steps would be create the pages over here the way you want them, pages and posts and then create 301 redirects from every page and post over here to something over here. And then take this site down.

Like keep the domain name and then whatever that htaccess… I have to read about that too.

Yeah. You don’t actually have to take the site down anyway, right? As long as you’ve got 301 redirects everywhere then it’s…

Yeah, as long as I don’t have to maintain it or update it, I don’t care.

Right. Yeah and as long as there are 301 redirects from every place on this site to over here then nobody is going to end up at one of these pages. They’ll all end up over there no matter what happens.

Are there a lot of videos on 301 redirect?

I think there are 5 or 6, something like that.

Okay that’s…

I mean, it’s code right? So it’s not… I mean, it’s technical but yeah, so there are… well, I guess there are only 3 parts, really. It’s part 1, part 2 and part 3. And then there’s a little bit of you know, there’s some other stuff associated with it that’s a little less technical. But I guess it’s just 3 parts.

Okay.

Okay?

Yes.

You can do it.

I know.

And of course, I’m here.

I can do it, I am doing it. I just wanted to let you know, I sent you a testimonial yesterday. I hope you like it.

I did like it, thank you very much. I replied back to you.

Oh, I’ve had a challenging morning here so I haven’t been on except just right now when I jumped on a little while.

Me too.

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