Learn how to divide existing content between an old and a new website to benefit both.
David: So, Dave, you asked a question about taking an existing website and splitting it between two different countries, and what to do with the 40-odd blog posts that exist, separating them amongst two different new websites because you’re building a new website for another country. So, you want to take advantage of the original blog posts and apply it to the new country? Does that kind of summarize what we’re talking about?
David: Okay. We’re always tempted to do this in the easiest possible way. So, it’s so tempting to just replace one country’s name with another country’s name and publish it on the second country. But Google is smart enough, at this point, to know that it’s the same content. So, what it does in that circumstance is simply ignore duplicate content. So, whatever site receives the same content but for a small, minor tweak, it just can ignore it because it knows it’s the same. So, we really want to take the time and effort to rewrite it, to write it anew, especially because content is so important for the long tail value for our clients’ websites, especially as blog posts. We don’t want to just shortchange it. Now we have 40-odd blog posts on one website. They’re already getting traffic. We want the new website in the second country to be able to have the advantage of that. So, here’s what I would do. I would go into Google Analytics and look not just at traffic but at conversion rates resulting from people landing on those blog post pages. Sort them by highest to lowest for most traffic and most conversions. Not all blog posts convert, so I’d almost lean heavier on traffic than conversion rate, but I’d want to have the conversion numbers in there to consider. And then what I would do is say, okay, the top one stays on the existing website. The number two most trafficked page gets migrated to the other country. The third stays on the existing website. The fourth goes to the other country. And so, what you’re doing is you’re dividing the traffic in half between one country and another. Each gets the existing post that is proven to deliver traffic. Then, on the original website, I would set up a 301 redirect for everyone you’re transferring to the second site. That 301 redirect would say, hey, Google, I know it’s not on here, but it’s there and will help not only any potential links that might already be to those blog posts giving the second site credit for it but help that traffic to funnel to the second site quicker to help goose that up. So now, you have half of the traffic you once had on each site. Right? So, one side dips, and the other goes up. Right?
Dave: Quick question. You talked about setting up a 301 redirect from the first site to the second site. But would you set up a 301 redirect from the new site to the first?
David: No, because there was nothing on the first site to redirect, right?
Dave: Right. Okay.
David: Besides, you don’t want to loop.
David: So, now each side has half. Then I would go to at least two separate writers, maybe four. Then for the posts that move to the other site, you would have topics for the writers. How do you buy a blue widget? What should you consider? One of the best practices in purchasing red widgets. So, on the second site, you have that post, but it’s now gone from the first site. And get a writer for the first site that focuses on the first site, whatever’s unique about that first site, in this case. Right? And you say here’s a topic about which I need you to write. Your audience is in the United States. Write this. They should not see the original. If they see the original, they are tempted to cut corners. Then you do the same thing for the second site. For example, the number one post is not on the second site. So, you tell a separate writer whose job it is to focus on the second country’s target audience, to write this blog post. Okay? And then, eventually, you’ll have to rewrite everything. It’ll be the sum total of 40-some new blog posts. That will be half for each site. These will have proven traffic, but the content will be unique because it’s two different writers or writer teams writing for different audiences. Now, because each site has a country focus, it might be that on the original site, there might be content talking about the second country. Those are in a different pool. And those get completely rewritten into a copy that focuses on the first country, and a copy that focuses on the second country gets split. Right? So, really maybe what you do is go through, and you say, okay, this talks about both target audiences, so this one needs to split in half, and maybe a third set of writers works on that. Because, again, you don’t want cross-pollination. And then, if you divide up the traffic, you end up being good. So, with those 301 redirects from the first site to the second site, when you relaunch the rewritten blog post on the first site, you can’t use the same URL, or the redirect will send you to the second site. So, you’ll have to use a new URL, which maybe is an opportunity to make it a little bit better. Right?
David: So, that’s the strategy I would use. It is not easy. It is not quick, but it’s going to end up having quality content that will continue to deliver, especially because you’re going to see the ones that have been proven to deliver quality content and quality traffic. Now, as you’re doing this analysis, you might learn that some of your blog posts don’t deliver any traffic. Well, so then you need to evaluate why they are not getting traffic. Is it because we cut corners on that one? We only wrote 200 words, so there’s really not enough there. Is it obsolete and out of date? Okay, well, then you either write a longer article or you update it with new information. So again, then what you end up doing is getting a net gain because blog posts that were not giving you traffic are now giving you traffic. And the best part about it is it’s not because you’re thinking about new topics, as long as the topic is still relevant. I’ve done this with one of my clients very successfully. I went through and saw a whole bunch of blog posts. We’ve written one a week for like eight years. Some of those have no traffic. They’re good, but they’re so buried, and they’re so old. I just went and refreshed them and wrote new stuff, new best practices. Eight-year-old SEO practices are different than SEO practices today. Boy, now those are the leading driving traffic of blog posts to the site because we just took the time to update. Right? So, that’s the content strategy I would approach with this site migration that would enable you to utilize what you’ve got and make it a little bit better.
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