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Search Engine Optimization Evaluation & Transition for Business Acquisitions

You don't want to sell or buy your business without understanding the value of Google search traffic. The companies I've interacted with on this front overlooked this factor.

So, when it comes to a business acquisition, there are numerous factors you want to consider for taking advantage of the value created prior to buying the business and harnessing as much of that value through the transition process. This article explores the SEO facets to consider prior to, during, and after you buy or merge that other company into yours.

1. Pre-Business Purchase SEO Evaluation

Don't decide on a price for selling your business until you understand your search engine presence. Don't pay a price for a company without understanding the SEO value that brand brings to yours.

Prior to a business acquisition, I recommend evaluating the quality of the content library and how it ranks on search engines, particularly Google. And second, you'll also want to understand the domain authority of the company you're purchasing. Let's dive into these two facets.

i. Content Library Ranking Quality

The quality of a content library can be a valuable asset for a business. It adds value for the company selling and value for the business acquiring. Traffic that flows from Google to a site, particularly the type that generates leads should be part of the business valuation (unless it's so pitiful as to be ignored). A company looking to sell should understand this point of value so they can maximize their selling price.

A company seeking to buy should understand what they're getting, not only because they'll understand the value, but also because it will help them understand how to transition the content and old website into the parent company's website and digital library.

So, how do we know what value is part of the digital online presence? Fundamentally, we want to understand how many impressions the website gets from Google and the volume of clicks from those impressions. And from there, we also want to know how diverse the drivers of that activity are for the website; how many pages and key phrases are driving the activity.

  • What is the total volume of impressions?
  • Clicks?
  • How many and which pages are driving a majority of these impressions and clicks?
  • How do those pages compare to the content you already have in place?

ii. Domain Authority Evaluation

Beyond this evaluation, it will also help to understand the domain authority. How many other websites link to this company's site? This authority will transfer after you do the proper redirects enhancing your company's domain authority. And if we have key monetary metrics for customer value, we can narrow in on a specific value for their online presence.

Here's a domain authority snapshot of key factors from SEMRush for my domain.

SEMRush Key Insights

  • Authority score = 20
  • Backlinks = 8.1k
  • Referring domains = 283

Majestic Key Insights

  • Referring domains = 128
  • Backlinks = 17,243
  • Trust flow = 28
  • Citation flow = 35

Moz Key Insights

  • Domain Authority = 28
  • Linking Domains = 283
  • Inbound Links = 9.7k

Google Search Console Key Insight

  • Top Linking Sites = 2,266

iii. The Ideal Evaluation Metric

The gold standard of evaluation before purchasing would be to understand how much traffic the client gets, how many of those visitors get captured into contacts, and how many of those contacts get captured into customers. This information matched with the average customer value gives us a monetary valuation of their digital platform.

Note, this does not directly capture the value of the business brand, so that factor will need to be evaluated in tandem.

A. Want A Pre-Purchase SEO Evaluation Done For You?

If you are unsure how to evaluate an online platform or want an expert to handle the process, let's explore me conducting the evaluation on your organization's behalf.

Learn More About Working Together Contact Me

B. Or, Do It Yourself With Montoya's SEO School (Online Course)

In my online and on-demand SEO training program, I dive into each facet of SEO in bite-size videos along with notes and checklists for streamlining your SEO process. This program will help you do SEO that makes an impact you can see.

Learn More About Montoya's SEO School

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2. A Pre-Migration SEO Boost Experiment & Signaling

Don't move what has no value.

When we move from one house to another, people often move the stuff they will put in the attic, basement, or storage. It sits there for years collecting dust. If it's in storage, they'll pay for that stuff to sit.

So, what if you decided to go through all your stuff and get rid of it if you're not going to use it within 6 months? My screenwriting friend recently moved to Los Angeles from Atlanta, and that type of move required they go through their stuff and get rid of those things they were lukewarm about keeping.

Website migration can play out the same way. We can migrate everything only to discover we need to get rid of a large chunk of that content.

To solve this problem, I recommend executing the following plan to "defibrillate" the website and delineate the high-quality from the low-quality. We want to see what is already performing, but we also want to prod for what would perform if it was optimized better for the search engines. Some of the content may be good, but it may be stifled by something as simple as a bad title tag.

And, we also want to begin the transition process by signaling to Google and other digital platforms about the shift.

i. Title Tag Defibrillation

The way we do this is with a high impact low effort task; optimizing the site's title tags.

With keyword research on the site, figure out what keywords people are using to find the different site pages and update the title tag to reflect this behavior. Lean into what is already working, and give it 2-12 weeks to see how the change affects rankings and whether traffic grows during that time. 

Here's a quick bullet recap.

  • Optimize title tags on existing pages
  • Monitor for improvement
  • Identify the newly stimulated successes

ii. Update Schema Markup to Indicate the Change

We want to signal to Google about the impending change coming. One of the fastest ways is to communicate with Google in its own language so it can understand it fast and begin to see what's coming down the pike. The way to do this is through Google structured data. If you're a Joomla user, Tassos Marinos has a great plugin for managing this information. WordPress users can check out this plugin. 

Here are several changes you can make to the Google Structured data to begin the transition process.

  • Update the organization's social profile links
  • Set the Site Name, Alternative Site Name, and Site URL
  • Update your content item types with relevant organization data.
    • For example, update the article item type with the publisher name (the company name buying the other).
    • For event items, update the event organizer and URL
    • For service items, update the service provider
  • Update the logo with the company buying the other

iii. Press Release Publication & Cross Linking

We want to make sure the websites link to each other, and then this cross-linking happens in as many places as possible.

One effective way to signal to Google and include this cross-linking is through a press release published on both websites. To expand the reach and backlink volume, consider distributing the press release through a distribution network like Business Wire. This can be distributed across the state, a region of the country, countrywide or global.

Other tasks you can execute to enhance this signaling with Google include:

  • Text on the website (toolbar, footer, sidebar, etc...) indicating the new and old name with links to the buyer's site
  • A goodbye blog post on the site to disappear, indicating how the site will be shut down and redirected and when it will happen.

Get Experiment & Signaling Assistance

If you need assistance discovering these factors and executing the tasks, contact me and we can explore how best to approach this with your business acquisition.

Learn More About Working Together Contact Me

Or, Get Assistance Doing It Yourself With Montoya's SEO School (Online Course)

Learn how to optimize your website for the search engines by learning the fundamentals and specific ways to make an impact, today.

Learn More About Montoya's SEO School

3. Post-Acquisition SEO Migration / Merge Task List

If we've done the preliminary work and executed our defibrillation project, we'll now have a good foundation for effectively prioritizing and filtering how we go about the actual transition process.

Based on the data and newly run experiment, determine a click volume cut-off point (anything less than x clicks) and migrate any content that exceeds that volume. Migrate and merge the acquired business copy with the content on your existing website to further enrichen it. If there is quality content on the newly bought company's website, you can merge that with articles already on your company's site to enrich it.

This is also a great exercise to discover the type and topics of content that your company may have overlooked or missed in its own content creation strategy. Remember the goal of content creation is to build a comprehensive library that covers all topics related to your target audience's points of interest.

  • Migrate the top-performing content pieces
  • Merge quality content with your matching existing content
  • Properly roll out redirects from old pages to new pages
  • Redirect the old domain to the main domain
  • Redirect the old pages to related pages on the main domain
  • Discover gaps in your content library

Keep Both Sites?

In some rare cases, it may end up making sense to keep both sites live. If you can show up twice on the Google rankings, it gives you search dominance. If the company you are buying has a strong digital platform and is showing up for many of the key phrases your company is showing up for, it may make sense to keep both sites active, at least for a longer period of time.

If you are not planning to maintain the new website, I'd recommend doing a transition, but just extending it over a longer period of time. If you are willing to maintain both sites, then develop an SEO strategy for both sites. The strategy for the acquired company could simply be to sustain the library already in place. It could also include a strategy to include new content. Pick the strategy that best aligns with your organization's primary goals.

Bonus! Other Transition Considerations (Like Social Media)

Here are some additional things to review and transition as part of the business acquisition and absorption.

  • When it comes to social media, focus on evergreen (old content gets activity) channels like Youtube and Pinterest. Content that quickly disappears and is not indexed by Google is probably not worth migrating.

Wrapping Up

Before you buy a business, evaluate its search authority and content library.

Once you've done the deed, begin the evaluation process to maximize the transition success and evaluate what's worthwhile.

And finally, transition over the old site and content library to the existing website that will be sticking around. 

Integrate this into your business acquisition strategy and maximize the value of the entire process.

Work With An SEO Acquisition Specialist

If you need assistance discovering these factors and executing the tasks, contact me and we can explore how best to approach this with your business acquisition.

Learn More About Working Together Contact Me

Or, Master Search Engine Optimization With My Online Course

Whether you don't have the resources or you want to bring the project in-house, this SEO online course will walk you through the various ways to optimize your site for Google starting with High impact and low-effort activities.

Learn More About Montoya's SEO School

Additional Resources

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

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