russofford

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Hello,

I'm looking for advice, ideas/brainstorming for ways to handle the NAP data of a company when it has been bought out by another company.

A few things to consider would be the following:

The newly purchased business will cease to function, as it will basically be swallowed up by the company that purchased it. (For example, the business was purchased for their clientele. The business being purchased has a long history of serving people in the area.

A couple scenarios/thoughts/concerns on the matter would be the following:

1. I could attempt eradicate any/all IYP listings and citations for the old business. If I chose this route, it would appear, online, as though this company never existed. However, what if those established citations could be valuable for search engine ranking and/or visibility online?

2. I could change just some of the NAP components, such as replacing the old business name with the name of the company who purchased it in various IYP venues. Since the old business would no longer be doing business at that address, I'd probably need to change the address, too. So in effect, if the old phone number stays active, I'd be changing any/all citations possible from the old company name/address to the new company name/address and only keeping the phone number.

In this case, it would mean that I'd also most likely need to update the business description and other misc data points such as hours of operation, year established, etc, etc. The website URL 'could' be left as-is, at least for now, because the domain name could simply be forwarded to the new company's domain name.

The problem with this second scenario is that the company that purchased the other company would already have their own citations. This would basically create duplicate listings and NAP data conflicts, since there would be two phone numbers floating around the internet for the same company name/address. :/

I guess that in my mind I'm assuming that people would have the old company's phone number saved in their cell phones, or address books, etc. It would still exist on old paper documents and such. If I blow away all citations of the old company online, there would be no reference as to who/what the company used to be. For example, if I had an old phone number written down somewhere, I could search that phone number in Google and try to find out to whom it belongs.

If I was the owner of the company that purchased the old business, I would want all traces of the old company to lead back to the new company, because that is the reason it was purchased in the first place (in this scenario)... for the clientele and/or for the history of the business.

If I eliminate all traces of the old business' NAP, then it seems to me that I'd be loosing the authority that it could add to the new company's online presence.

Any theoretical thoughts or comments on this, or input from past experience would be appreciated.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Russ
 

hajnasiewicz

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I think you answered your own question my friend:

"If I was the owner of the company that purchased the old business, I would want all traces of the old company to lead back to the new company, because that is the reason it was purchased in the first place (in this scenario)... for the clientele and/or for the history of the business."

To accomplish this, on your NAP sources I would update the business name:

"Ajax Auto, formerly Bob's Auto"

FYI My experience, recent merger/acquisition of two Fortune 500's with multiple offices, distribution centers and retail outlets.
 

russofford

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To accomplish this, on your NAP sources I would update the business name: "Ajax Auto, formerly Bob's Auto"

Hi.

Thanks for your input. I appreciate it. I think that your name format suggestion could be a good solution for this situation.

In this particular case, however, the company being purchased will no longer function at the previous the location. The operations would most likely be consolidated to the office of the purchasing company.

That seems to throw a curve ball into the equation, since, technically, the old address would no longer be valid. Perhaps the name change could happen first, then the address could be changed at some point later on, but then I'd be making double the work.

Since I use both Yext and Moz Local, perhaps another option could be to 'shutter' the location maybe 6 months to a year after implementing the name adjustment. This would technically signal to the aggregators and IYP venues that accept that flag, that the company is no longer in business as such. In my experience, this can cause a loss of listings on some venues, but the majority of citations would at least point to the new company name by that time, so former clients could do a Google search and find the new company via the old company's listings.

Russ
 

JoshuaMackens

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Citation age is definitely a viable variable to consider. Although there is no proof this is true, it's not a massive logical leap to consider this a factor. And if you can get a listing deleted, you can typically also get it claimed and changed.

You say that the problem is that the new business "would" have new citations already? Why? Did they already add them? Or is Business A acquiring Business B with Business A already have been in operation for awhile?

If that's the scenario, I would just delete all citations myself. On GMB I might do what was suggested above in changing the name. I would keep it live though, not close it, so that people know when they Google it.

Also, I would write a blog post about the acquisition on your site, optimize the blog post to show up for both Business A and Business B's brands, that way customers would see the article potentially when Google'ing the old company and know what's up. Maybe also 301 the old domain to the blog post or an optimized landing page explaining everything as long as the old domain doesn't have good SEO juice that would be wasted on an inner page.

If I got your scenario wrong, let me know.
 

russofford

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You say that the problem is that the new business "would" have new citations already? Why? Did they already add them? Or is Business A acquiring Business B with Business A already have been in operation for awhile?

Hi Joshua,

Thank you for you input. Yeah, Business A (the purchaser) has been around for a while and has established citations from their business history over time.

With that in mind, I wouldn't want to affect the purchasing company in a negative manner by the changing of Business B's citations, either. ;)

Russ
 

cdawg2610

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Does the buy/sell agreement cover digital entities at all? Does it include use of the old phone number?

I would double check that before anything else. The buy/sell agreement has usually spelled out what you can do with references to the older business. that will usually drive the strategy.
 

JoshuaMackens

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Hi Joshua,

Thank you for you input. Yeah, Business A (the purchaser) has been around for a while and has established citations from their business history over time.

With that in mind, I wouldn't want to affect the purchasing company in a negative manner by the changing of Business B's citations, either. ;)

Russ

Is Business B still in operation in other locations or something? My assumption was they were selling out completely?
 

russofford

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Is Business B still in operation in other locations or something? My assumption was they were selling out completely?

Hi Joshua,

Business B will technically cease to exist. Their employees will be merged with Business A.

I suppose that 'technically' business B's listings should be 'closed' (at least to play by Google's guidelines)... however, the implications of outright closing ALL listings would mean that Business B would pretty much just 'disappear' in the IYP world (it it was humanely possible to close / suppress all listing, that is.)

I suppose my issue is with 'why' Business A is buying Business B in the first place. It is most likely for their client base and perhaps a bit of their staff's knowledge, but some of the old company's reputation would go with it.

I guess if Company A cared so much about the reputation... they would not change the name or 'merge' companies so to speak... but the last concern in my mind is how people will find Company B online after the fact... what will the effect of removal or change to IYP listings be to the client base of Company B... those of whom 'might' do a Google search to find them.

I suppose that in the end a simple page on some website could easily explain to searchers what happened to Company B and how to get a hold of someone at Company A... the trick would be to ensure that THAT page outranks all the junk results (or old straggling IYP listings containing the Business B's old name/address/phone data.)

:p

Russ
 

JoshuaMackens

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I think all you would need to do is remove IYP's so there are no search results and change Google as mentioned. Maybe even make GMB website the blog post announcement.
 

Eric Rohrback

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Does the buy/sell agreement cover digital entities at all? Does it include use of the old phone number?

I would double check that before anything else. The buy/sell agreement has usually spelled out what you can do with references to the older business. that will usually drive the strategy.

I will agree with this. You really need to know who has ownership over the old business IP. Make sure you have it in writing that you will take over all materials (website & digital marketing products included). You will also want access to the hosting/domain registrar, or at least have the domain name transferred. That way you can set redirects to the new site & tag with parameters, so you can measure the influx of new traffic from users trying to reach the old site. That way when someone visits from a parameterized URL, you could serve a pop up (only from that URL) explaining why they landed on your site instead of the other competitor. That could help ease customer confusion & make a better transition.
 
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