Well, except PageRank. But PageRank and history are intertwined of course. Still most businesses will never achieve PageRank 9 status, nor have a PageRank 9 page confer its authority upon them. In short, unless you’re the likes of Facebook, Apple and other big timers and can easily confer your existing authority to a new website, you should consider your website history one of its most valuable assets and protect your authority pages.
This may be something that Jeffrey Braverman of the Newark Nut Company forgot in his quest to obtain the holy grail of domains for his company, Nuts.com. Although Braverman’s existing website, NutsOnline.com, was averaging more than 30,000 visits each week from organic Google searches with traffic rising 5 to 10 percent per month, his desire for Nuts.com wouldn’t let up.
In 2011 after years of waiting, Braverman finally purchased Nuts.com for several hundred thousand dollars. Here’s what happened next, according to The New York Times:
“His tech team cleaned out extraneous and duplicate pages and set up 301 redirects to send NutsOnline.com visitors to the corresponding pages on Nuts.com. Then on Jan. 6, he reopened his company on the new site. But despite his high hopes and careful planning, the site’s traffic took a dive. Traffic had been averaging more than 30,000 visits each week from nonpaid Google searches, but it fell 70 percent two weeks after the switch. Almost three months later, it was still down by more than 50 percent. The decline, Mr. Braverman said, cost the company at least 100 to 150 orders a day.”
The likely culprit was deleting pages that the company felt were extraneous or were duplicate. Those pages may have had unknown value; 301 redirecting them and including canonical URLs for the new page locations would have been the best approach. Deleting NutsOnline.com altogether and not 301 redirecting all the pages is the equivalent of throwing the baby out with the bath water.
Certainly in time Nuts.com will rebound. Hopefully Braverman has the capital to whether the interim loses. Seeing as how Newark Nut Company has grown from a small family operation to an industry leading company with 80 employees and an annual revenue of $20 Million with Braverman at the helm, I imagine the company will survive. Though this story will forever serve as a testament to the value of website history in search engine optimization.
Read the full blog in The New York Times.