How a Merger Could Affect SEO
Most businesses start up with the intention of growing over time. Isn’t that the goal? Nearly every business starts as a “small business” but as it succeeds over time, along with it comes growth and potential new opportunities. One possible opportunity that may come along for a successful small business is that it may have a prospective buyer or another company with similar offerings (maybe a competitor) wants to merge to form one bigger, stronger company. There are many things to take into consideration when thinking about the possibility of a merger since it’s such a huge endeavor. In addition to all other business components that need to be considered, you’ll also need to think about SEO.
If a larger business is taking over a smaller business, the website of the small business will typically be redirected to that of the larger business so that it’s easier from a user perspective. This means that all of the link history of that site will now become connected to the larger site. This could be a good thing or this could be a very bad thing. Sometimes, it happens without thought.
Before merging sites automatically, you are going to want to do some digging and conduct a full SEO audit of the website that you are planning to merge with yours. The first thing to look at is the inbound link portfolio of the site. What kinds of links do they have? Every website tends to have a few bad links but you may find that there is a significant percentage of bad links. Maybe they just didn’t catch up to the site owner yet. That doesn’t mean that it won’t catch up to them eventually. Maybe they were involved in some black hat SEO at one point or maybe the links grew unbeknownst to them. The reasoning doesn’t matter. All that matters is that they are there. Before merging the sites you will want to do some link clean up and reach out to the website owners of any of the sites that include these bad links.
Another item to pay attention to is their anchor text. After the Google Penguin update one of the big SEO no-no’s is the overuse of anchor text keywords. An anchor text linking portfolio should look natural. Most links should be to the brand name, some should be a full URL, and even less should be your priority keywords. If it looks like they were overusing priority keywords as anchor text it could cause a penalty.
The online reputation of the company is another thing to consider. You probably wouldn’t want to merge with a company that had a bad reputation overall, but maybe there have been a few mishaps along the way. You certainly don’t want any bad publicity to end up linking back over to your site.
If two businesses are merging, it doesn’t mean that the websites need to merge too. It’s important to look at the website from an SEO perspective and determine if that website will help or hinder the site.
Categorized in: SEO
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