18 minute read

Managing multiple digital properties can be complex and lead to duplicative work. If you’re an SEO, web or marketing manager with a portfolio of two or more sites, you might be facing down a pivotal decision—whether to merge these websites into a single, cohesive site.

Consolidating your websites can dramatically enhance your SEO, streamline your brand narrative, and simplify the customer experience, but only if executed with precision and strategic foresight. It’s a big job — and if you want to reap the benefits, it needs to be done right. Here are some key considerations when consolidating two (or more) websites into one.

Should You Merge Your Websites?

The decision to merge websites should be strategic and aligned with broader business goals such as improving operational efficiency, enhancing brand coherence, or consolidating acquisitions under one brand. Here are several reasons you might consider merging your websites:

Brand Consolidation

When a company owns multiple brands or subsidiaries, merging websites can unify the brand presence and messaging, significantly streamlining marketing efforts and strengthening brand recognition. This is particularly useful after acquisitions or mergers when a company seeks to integrate newly acquired entities under one umbrella. For example, after Marriott International acquired Starwood Hotels & Resorts, they successfully merged their marketing websites and loyalty programs in order to simplify brand management and improve customer loyalty.

SEO Optimization

Merging websites eliminates content duplication, consolidates link equity onto a single domain, and generally enhances the user experience—each of which can significantly boost your site’s SEO. Consolidating multiple domains into one can lead to better search engine rankings, increased site traffic, and improved site authority.

Cost Efficiency and Operational Simplification

Maintaining multiple websites is not only costly in terms of hosting and development but also in security and upkeep. By consolidating sites, companies can significantly reduce these costs and better allocate resources. Additionally, managing content across several sites can be complex; a single site simplifies content management, ensuring consistency and reducing administrative overhead.

Enhanced User Experience

A single, well-structured website typically offers a better user experience compared to navigating multiple, separate sites, especially if they serve similar purposes. This consolidation can lead to higher user satisfaction, increased engagement, and better conversion rates, making it easier for users to find the information they need without the hassle of navigating through multiple domains.

Streamlining E-Commerce

For businesses with multiple e-commerce sites selling similar products, consolidating into one site can simplify inventory management, customer service and sales processes. A streamlined approach can reduce errors, improve customer experience and potentially increase sales by providing a single, comprehensive shopping platform.

Market Expansion or Restructuring

When a company restructures its business or expands into new markets, consolidating existing websites can help refocus its online presence to align better with new business goals or geographic focus. This strategy ensures that all marketing efforts are working in unison through change or expansion.

Technology Upgrades

If multiple websites are running on legacy technology, consolidating them into one modern, responsive, and easy-to-update website can be more efficient than upgrading each one individually. This not only improves the backend management but also ensures that the website remains competitive and compliant with current web standards.

Data Centralization

Merging websites allows for the centralization of data and analytics, which can significantly enhance data analysis and customer insights. This centralization can lead to more targeted marketing and SEO strategies and better-informed decision-making, as all user interactions and behaviors are recorded in a single repository.

Legal and Regulatory Compliance

In industries like finance and healthcare, regulatory changes may necessitate the consolidation of websites to ensure compliance across all platforms. This can be crucial for protecting customer data and avoiding legal penalties.

Assessing the Risks of Merging Websites

While merging multiple websites into a single platform can be advantageous, any content migration comes with significant risks. If not properly managed, these downsides can undermine the benefits. Understanding these risks is crucial for any business considering this move. Here are the key challenges and pitfalls to be aware of:

SEO Disruptions

One of the most immediate risks is a short-term decrease in SEO performance. Although one end goal of a website merger is to strengthen SEO over the long term, the initial phase can often result in temporary drops in search rankings. This can occur due to several factors such as improper implementation of 301 redirects, increased latency or 404 errors, loss of backlinks due to URL changes, or simply the search engines’ re-evaluation of the new domain’s credibility.

Check your SEO tools daily during this period to quickly identify and resolve these issues. Redirect managers like EasyRedir make it fast and simple to create, manage and monitor all your redirects in one place.

Decrease in Traffic and User Engagement

Traffic and user engagement metrics might see a temporary decline following a website consolidation. Regular visitors to the original sites may initially be confused by the new, unified interface, leading to higher bounce rates and lower session durations. This can be mitigated by implementing a comprehensive user education strategy about the changes, including guided tours of the new site and prominent FAQs.

Brand Identity Dilution

For companies with well-established individual brands, merging websites risks diluting these identities, potentially alienating loyal customers. This risk is particularly high when merging brands that have distinct customer bases or unique brand messages. In these cases, it may be better to maintain separate sites for each distinct brand and audience. If you do proceed with a website merger, it’s essential to maintain key elements from each brand’s identity within the new merged site, ensuring that all customer segments feel valued and recognized.

Technical Glitches and Downtime

Any significant digital overhaul comes with the risk of technical issues, such as broken links, lost functionality and complete site downtime. These glitches can frustrate users and damage the brand’s reputation, or worse disrupt the delivery of services and the collection of revenue. Rigorous testing before going live, phased rollouts, and having a dedicated technical support team on standby during the launch can help minimize these disruptions.

Loss of Content Value

In the process of merging content from multiple sites, valuable content might inadvertently be left out or lose its impact when placed in a new context. This could affect the site’s long-term SEO and user engagement. For example, if both the new site and the old site have pages that are similar, this duplication of content can weaken SEO performance due to both pages competing for the same keyword.

To prevent this, perform a detailed content audit prior to the merger to decide what content to keep, discard, or rewrite. Moz offers comprehensive content audit features that can help streamline this process.

How to Merge Two Websites into One: a Step-by-Step Guide

As we’ve explored, merging multiple websites into a single, unified platform can significantly benefit your business. You can simplify management, enhance SEO and improve the user experience. At the same time, there are significant risks related to SEO performance, downtime and brand. But with a solid strategy and plan, you can successfully navigate these risks. Follow these step-by-step instructions to merge your websites effectively.

Step 1: Audit Your Websites and Content

Before merging, conduct a thorough analysis of each site involved to understand their performance, audience demographics, and SEO standings. SEMrush provides valuable insights into traffic sources, user behavior and keyword rankings. You should also check Google Search Console to identify any existing issues, such as penalties or crawl errors, that need to be addressed before the merge.

You can also perform a comprehensive content audit using Screaming Frog, Ahrefs or Moz (as mentioned above) to determine which content should be retained, merged, or discarded. Identify key content and understand the site structure. Create a detailed sitemap based on this audit, which will guide the new website's structure.

Step 2: Plan Your Redirects and 404s

A well-planned redirect strategy is critical to maintaining SEO value during a merger. Following your content audit, create a plan for where each URL from the old sites will be redirected in the new website’s structure. This is crucial for maintaining SEO value and ensuring user navigation is seamless.

Use 301 redirects to inform search engines that pages have permanently moved, thus preserving link equity. Redirect managers like EasyRedir can streamline this process by allowing you to manage and analyze all redirects from a single dashboard. It’s essential to ensure that all links are updated to point to the new URLs to avoid any disruption in user experience and search engine indexing.

Lastly, design a user-friendly 404 page to handle any navigation errors effectively. A 404 not found error occurs when a web page cannot be found on the server, indicating that the page has been deleted or moved, and the URL has not been updated to match. A 404 error is frustrating for users, and also negatively impacts SEO rankings. But a custom 404 page can turn your 404 pages into a conversion machine.

Step 3: Migrate Your Content and Data

With your content audit, site map, redirects and custom 404 page in hand, you're ready to merge your websites! Now you can transfer all your selected content from the old sites to the new site. Critically, ensure that all SEO metadata (titles, descriptions, keywords, etc.) are transferred or recreated on the new site as well.

There are a variety of automated tools and services that streamline migrating content for you. You'll want to pick the best one for your specific CMS, database and technology stack. Some popular tools include WordPress Export/Import Tool, Drupal Migration Module, Joomla! J2XML and aisite (formerly CMS2CMS).

Once your content is migrated, update the new site’s robots.txt file for optimal crawling by search engines. You should also submit the new sitemap to Google via Google Search Console, which facilitates quicker indexing and understanding of the site layout by search engines.

If the two sites have similar content, you can implement canonical tags to help search engines understand which version of a page to consider as the true, or 'canonical', page. This avoids SEO issues related to duplicate content, which is particularly important when similar or identical content exists across the websites being merged.

Lastly, if your domain changed you should formally notify Google by using Google Webmaster Tools to submit a change of address form. This helps maintain your site's search ranking during the transition.

Step 4: Communicate the Change to Your Users

Keeping your users informed throughout the merger process is vital for maintaining trust and reducing confusion. On your website, create pop-ups or banners that guide users through the transition.

Updating your ads and social media profiles to direct users to the new site is also crucial; it helps in retaining customer engagement and directing traffic efficiently during the transition.

For larger mergers, such as a rebrand or company acquisition, it may be worth using multiple communication channels, such as email newsletters, social media updates, and blog posts, to provide context on the change and benefits. Ensuring a smooth user experience during and after the site merger will help retain your audience and mitigate any potential drop in engagement.

Step 5: Monitor Performance Post-Merger

After the consolidation, continuously monitor your new site and redirect performance to ensure a smooth transition. Regular checks will allow you to quickly identify and resolve any issues. Use Google Analytics and Google Search Console to track key performance indicators such as traffic, bounce rates, and indexing status. Check your SEMrush dashboard (or a simliar tool) for changes in keyword rankings and backlink profiles.

Regularly check for broken links, redirect chains, and loops using Ahrefs or Screaming Frog, and fix them promptly to maintain a healthy site structure. Keeping an eye on these metrics will help you optimize the new site for better performance and user experience.

Step 6: Breathe a Sigh of Relief

You did it! Pat yourself on the back. By carefully following these steps and using the right tools, you successfully merged multiple websites into one, setting your new consolidated site up for long-term success with improved SEO, simplified management, and enhanced user experience. Nice work!

Ready to Merge Two Websites into One? Don’t Forget These 3 Best Practices

Now you know how to consolidate multiple websites into a single entity. It’s a significant undertaking that, if executed properly, can substantially enhance your SEO and your digital footprint. If you’re feeling nervous about making this leap, that’s understandable. Just remember these three key tips. We’ve got your back.

Use the Correct Redirect Type

The correct use of 301 redirects is critical in the process of website consolidation. They signal to search engines that a page has moved permanently, thereby transferring the SEO value from the old URLs to the new ones. This helps maintain your site's authority, eliminates 404s and prevents any loss in search rankings.

Be meticulous in mapping out how each old URL corresponds to the new site structure to avoid any broken links. Redirectors like EasyRedir offer robust solutions for managing these redirects effectively, ensuring that link equity is preserved and that external links continue functioning smoothly.

Remove Low-Value Content

Evaluate and curate the content to be migrated very carefully. Delete any low-value, outdated, or irrelevant content that does not serve the new website’s goals or user needs. You can also implement canonical tags to manage the SEO impact of duplicate or similar content. This not only helps in maintaining a lean and effective site but also improves site speed and SEO performance.

Continuous Monitoring and Optimization

Once the new website is live, the work isn't over. Continuous monitoring and optimization are essential. Use Google Analytics and Google Search Console to keep an eye on how the new site performs. Specifically, monitor for broken links, redirect chains and redirect loops, which can negatively impact user experience and site rankings. Regularly check the site’s SEO performance and make adjustments as needed.

By following these strategies, SEO leaders can ensure that their website consolidation efforts lead to improved SEO performance and contribute positively to the organization’s bottom line. Remember, the goal of merging sites is not just about maintaining SEO value but enhancing it to achieve greater success not only for your organization, but for your customers and other audiences as well.


Everything you need to know when merging websites” Semetrical.

Pros and cons of consolidating multiple websites” Web Development Group.

How to merge websites together for SEO” SEO.co.

Ultimate guide to merging websites together for SEO” Ignite Visibility.

How to consolidate two websites: Your website consolidation strategy” WebFX.

Canonical URLs: A beginner’s guide to canonical tags” Semrush.

The What, Why and How of Canonical Tags & URLs” HubSpot

Join our mailing list.

Keep up with industry news, best practices, and our latest announcements. Usually about one email per month.