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Brighton SEO 2016 - How to Survive the Merge of Two Mega-Sites

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Matteo Monari talks about how to merge two websites during Brighton SEO 2016 Conference.

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Brighton SEO 2016 - How to Survive the Merge of Two Mega-Sites

  1. 1. How to Survive the Merge of Two Mega-Sites: - 2 sites - 2 languages - 4 million daily PageViews Brighton SEO – April 22, 2016
  2. 2. 2@matteo_monarifor Nice to meet you! § Co-founder & Agency Director of BizUp: Rome-based, International projects, competitive niches § Former Head of SEO in EU media group + gaming Me
  3. 3. 3@matteo_monarifor Portobello Market, London, UK
  4. 4. 4@matteo_monarifor Jemaa el Fnaa, Marrakesh, Morocco
  5. 5. 5@matteo_monarifor Its online version: “B.com” •  + 21.000.000 pages •  Alexa (Morocco): 5 •  A few milions PVs/day •  2 languages (fr + ar) •  Very good rankings % of Top-10 rankings out of 100 top target KWs Traffic
  6. 6. 6@matteo_monarifor B’s problem B just bought its main competitor A, and wants to merge with it, using A’s brand but keeping B’s rankings: BB.com AA.com A+ A.com (R) (R)
  7. 7. 7@matteo_monarifor Jemaa el Fnaa, Marrakesh, Marocco
  8. 8. 8@matteo_monarifor More specifically Brand SEO CMS + DB B B.com A Brand SEO CMS + DB A+ A.com A A.com
  9. 9. 9@matteo_monarifor With a step in between Keep A+ in beta for a month, with people still using also A and B. R B B.com A A.com A+ beta.A.com 0 1 2 B B.com A A.com A+ A.com
  10. 10. 10@matteo_monarifor We do our homeworks...
  11. 11. 11@matteo_monarifor ...by the book: Step 1: B.com’s database is replicated on beta.A.com (beta.A.com kept un-indexed via canonical) Step 2: •  Domain change & 301 beta.A.com ! A.com •  Domain change & 301 B.com ! A.com •  URL changes & 301s within A.com
  12. 12. 12@matteo_monarifor Too easy: surprise requirements! First force 10% of users to use beta.A.com Then force ALL B users to use beta.A.com beta.A.com = accessible but invisible to SE and B.com & A.com ranking but 10% users blocked then B.com ranking but all users moved to beta.a.com B B.com A A.com A+ beta.A.com 1
  13. 13. 13@matteo_monarifor Ok, let’s go Mac Gyver on this
  14. 14. 14@matteo_monarifor 1. Force 10% of users to use beta.A.com Solution: Cloaking 10% A.com and B.com’s visitors whose user-agent is different from GoogleBot are “tagged” via cookie and redirected via JS towards beta.A.com. Thanks to the cookie, those users will ALWAYS get redirected. For them, the site change has already happened. IMPORTANT: risky solution (“shady JS redirect”) = the least it stays active, the better it is.
  15. 15. 15@matteo_monarifor 2. Force ALL B.com users to use beta.A.com Theoretical solution: Redirect 302 à Risk: Google’s “URL freedom” 2006: https://www.mattcutts.com/blog/seo-advice-discussing-302-redirects/ 2014: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4646897.htm 2016: https://plus.google.com/+JohnMueller/posts/E4PqAhRJB2V
  16. 16. 16@matteo_monarifor Let’s re-check the problem B.com ranking but unaccessible to users ...for a long time... ....is it possibile?
  17. 17. 17@matteo_monarifor 2. Force ALL B.com users to use beta.A.com Practical solution: Paywall + first click free (http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2008/10/first-click-free-for-web-search.html) All non-GoogleBot users: 1)  Land on B.com’s ranking page 2)  On click a pop-up forces them to go to beta.A.com
  18. 18. 18@matteo_monarifor Result: A month of “cloaking” & no issues
  19. 19. 19@matteo_monarifor Time for Step 2! On day X, the following happens at once: •  beta.A.com canonical is removed •  beta.A.com website is moved to A.com •  beta.A.com à 301 ! A.com •  B.com’s paywall is removed •  B.com à 301 ! A.com •  URL changes and 301s within A.com
  20. 20. 20@matteo_monarifor Results: B.com gets quickly deindexed
  21. 21. 21@matteo_monarifor Results: A.com’s new URLs get indexed
  22. 22. 22@matteo_monarifor Results: A.com ranks in place of B.com TOP-30TOP-3
  23. 23. 23@matteo_monarifor Final Result Rankings + Brand + Combined Trust = The new A+ has now twice B’s traffic
  24. 24. 24@matteo_monarifor Key takeaways • By the book solutions may not be enough • Sneaky methods are sometimes necessary Do not be afraid of thinking outside the box!
  25. 25. Thank you!@matteo_monari m.monari@bizupmedia.com

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