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Author Topic: Merging Forums Conceptual Discussion  (Read 5345 times)

Offline TrackMustangsOnline

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Merging Forums Conceptual Discussion
« on: September 22, 2014, 01:50:01 PM »
I have three auto related forums and am thinking about combining them.  I have concerns about maintaining the existing data from forum A & B as they're merged under the new name.  I'm also worried about losing google indexing and SEO.  I own all three sites so no issues there.  All three forums use google adsense and have paying vendors.  This is the layout I'm considering:

Forum A - up for four years and has 2,500 registered users
Forum B - up for one year and is off to a slow start.  The car it's designed for should be announced in a couple of weeks and I'm optimistic this will be larger than A
Forum C - similar to B but more general and I'm going to close it and I'm not worrying about saving any content
Forum D - New forum name and URL that will combine most of A & B and expand from there.

Forum D will have a portal page that will have info on the two other forums and then take you to the new forum.  I want to keep forum A as a separate reference site and lock it down.  All content will be copied to D and any new posts will be there.  Forums A, B & C URL's will bounce to D.  All three forums use SMF 2.0.8, the same shared hosting service but use different db's.

1. Can I combine the forums?
2. I have concerns about indexing and SEO.  Any pitfalls I should be aware of?
3. Will I be able to transfer over the forum and subforums and have links that work that are directed to existing content?  Is there a script that can do this or is this not possible?
4. Am I able to merge all registered users into the new forum D?
5. What else am I missing here?

Thanks in advance for any insight and suggestions you may have.


Offline Kindred

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Re: Merging Forums Conceptual Discussion
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2014, 03:31:05 PM »
It's complicated... and fraught with possible pitfalls.

1 -There is a script around here somewhere in which someone tried to write an "import" process... but it is, as I said, difficult and requires manual processing.
2- You will, obviously, lose any rankings in the search engines for the 3 absorbed forums.
3- no...   transferring will not create forwarding links...
4- the script that I mentioned above, might do this... but, again, there are lots of pitfalls.

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Offline TrackMustangsOnline

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Re: Merging Forums Conceptual Discussion
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2014, 04:10:19 PM »
Thanks for the reply.  Hmmm there's not a lot of content on forum B and I could move some of it over manually I guess. 

What if I keep forum A and add to it including a portal.  If I change the URL is there a script that can change all the required references?  That would allow me to use the same DB on forum A.  My plan is to have these changes, what ever I do, implemented during the first week of January 2015 so I have time to think this out.  Or I could have the new URL bounce to A and just change the name?  I'm thinking out loud here...

Also if I did something along the lines above would I be able to copy forum A and have it static as a reference on a sub URL?  I'm not real technical on all of this so feel free to correct me on proper lingo and logic here.   :)

Offline Kindred

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Re: Merging Forums Conceptual Discussion
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2014, 05:34:54 PM »
There is no really good way to do what you are asking...
It can be done, but there's a lot of manual work involved...
Please do not PM, IM or Email me with support questions.  You will get better and faster responses in the support boards.  Thank you.

Offline TrackMustangsOnline

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Re: Merging Forums Conceptual Discussion
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2014, 06:48:03 PM »
Ugh.  Thanks.

Offline Night09

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Re: Merging Forums Conceptual Discussion
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2014, 06:56:22 PM »
Forum A would be the most prudent choice to keep due to userbase and domain age. As stated if you move that to another you will loose all ranks and inbound links effectively destroying its SEO status. I would sandbox A even and not jeaprodise it to integrate other forums with mediocre stats in comparison.

Can you not just revamp A and send a newsletter to all members of the other forums about the change coming up or set up redirects to A and funnel users back that way maybe.

The year or less old ones are pretty worthless SEO wise unless theyre something special to have ranked.

Personally A would be my choice of them to work with and I wouldnt waste time and effort trying to merge them.

Offline margarett

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Re: Merging Forums Conceptual Discussion
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2014, 06:59:28 PM »
I would argue that the easiest way is to just keep content of Forum A (since others are pretty much irrelevant...)

We can maybe find a way to import users (only users) from other databases so that your userbase doesn't need to recreate accounts.
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Offline TrackMustangsOnline

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Re: Merging Forums Conceptual Discussion
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2014, 07:12:27 PM »
Thanks for your comments.  Ok so I run with A and add from there.  I'll do that. 

Is there any good way to change the domain name?  I already own the name I want to use.  I'm probably over thinking this but I have two objectives: the first is to keep and maintain my existing members and the second is to attract owners of the new car that will be introduced in a couple of weeks.  Does it makes sense to use a portal with the new domain and when you click on Forum it takes you to the legacy site?  Usually I'm a big believer of the KISS method but I don't want to miss out on the upcoming opportunity to attract the new owners.  I can provide more details if that's helpful.

Offline Night09

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Re: Merging Forums Conceptual Discussion
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2014, 07:16:45 PM »
If you set a portal up on A promoting the new forum it will carry more SEO weight that way so theres no reason not to do that. Changing the URL of A though is the same as killing it as from googles or anyone elses point of view it becomes a new site. Maybe set the new domain to resolve to the existing A for a while before swapping will get it associated better first.

Offline Gwenwyfar

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Re: Merging Forums Conceptual Discussion
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2014, 07:21:28 PM »
From my own experience, merging the topics/categories/posts from two forums is relatively easy, adding separate user accounts is easy too. But merging users would require much more manual work (the topics, not much more than moving section's contents around once they're in the same database). So how much effort it would take from manual processing would depend on how many users you're going to merge, if you truly want to go for that.

I'll be merging two more forums on mine, but on my case its simple as I want them as a "history" section, so no users involved. They'll all be named guests.

For the seo stuff, it would be good to leave a redirect for at least a few months & warn all the users beforehand. Though I have no idea how google would interpret this, at least this ensures your users and visitors will, which is the most important thing anyways.