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Hey all,

I have a situation I have never come across before, and I want to make sure I'm being as careful as possible:

I have a dentist that decided to start her new practice by purchasing an existing practice. The existing practice is well established online with plenty of citations and a listing that ranks page 1.

Obviously, the name of the business is changing, but here are a few things on the table:

1) Domain - it's an EMD, PR 2, in all existing citations
2) Phone - they are keeping the old phone, but are considering a tracking number to use in all future ads, etc. online and offline.
3) Name - the business name will be changing since the old listing name was the original dentist and not some corporate entity.

Questions:

Domain - my gut tells me a brand new domain is the way to go to make the new business as unique as possible.

The old domain seems to have way too much history with the old dentist name, and since we do not have access to old citations / business profiles, changing them will be next to impossible.

Phone - again... my gut says go with a new number and forward the old number to the new so they don't lose any business from people with old contact info.

My major concern is that Google will see 2 dental offices at the same address and merge the two. I'd like to make sure I'm doing everything possible to make the businesses as unique and distinct as possible.

EDIT: As a first step, I will unbrand the original domain so it's just a general info site, and the only mention of the new business will be an image ad for the new clinic. The only connection Google will be able to make between the old domain and the new domain for the new clinic will be the linked image ad. ---> will this be safe, or is even doing that risking confusing the big G?

Next, I was thinking that doing a user edit to mark the old business as closed would be a good idea, and I would hope that listings are different enough that the new business wouldn't be merged and marked closed, too.

I hope I explained everything clearly enough.

Thanks
 
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Hey all,

I have a situation I have never come across before, and I want to make sure I'm being as careful as possible:

I have a dentist that decided to start her new practice by purchasing an existing practice. The existing practice is well established online with plenty of citations and a listing that ranks page 1.

Obviously, the name of the business is changing, but here are a few things on the table:

1) Domain - it's an EMD, PR 2, in all existing citations
2) Phone - they are keeping the old phone, but are considering a tracking number to use in all future ads, etc. online and offline.
3) Name - the business name will be changing since the old listing name was the original dentist and not some corporate entity.

Questions:

Domain - my gut tells me a brand new domain is the way to go to make the new business as unique as possible.

The old domain seems to have way too much history with the old dentist name, and since we do not have access to old citations / business profiles, changing them will be next to impossible.

Phone - again... my gut says go with a new number and forward the old number to the new so they don't lose any business from people with old contact info.

My major concern is that Google will see 2 dental offices at the same address and merge the two. I'd like to make sure I'm doing everything possible to make the businesses as unique and distinct as possible.

EDIT: As a first step, I will unbrand the original domain so it's just a general info site, and the only mention of the new business will be an image ad for the new clinic. The only connection Google will be able to make between the old domain and the new domain for the new clinic will be the linked image ad. ---> will this be safe, or is even doing that risking confusing the big G?

Next, I was thinking that doing a user edit to mark the old business as closed would be a good idea, and I would hope that listings are different enough that the new business wouldn't be merged and marked closed, too.

I hope I explained everything clearly enough.

Thanks
Definately mark the old business feature in Google Maps as closed explaining that the doctor no longer works out of the address and give any other info pertaining to how you know the info and the whereabouts of his/her new location. You may have to delete the website and phone number from the old feature if the names of the business are similar. If the site will have a blog I'd post an article linking to the doctor's new practice location. You don't have to do the latter but it may give your Google juice by giving "authority" to the old doctor's new practice location. If the old doctor is still practicing you will want to ensure he/she has a Professional Listing for him/her-self in Google Maps at the new location with new contact info to help Google differentiate your website & practice from him/her. I haven't seen this senario before but based off my knowlege this is a good place to start. I'm sure others will have additional advice.
 
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Thanks.

Just to clarify, the old dentist is retiring, so linking to her new site / location isn't an issue.

The new dentist (my client) has purchased the practice, website, phone number and all. I don't want to reuse anything, though, since I want to make sure this new dentist will not be confused with the old.

I like the idea of posting an update on the old site, though, that explains the clinic is now owned by my client.
 

David Deering

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Just basing this on what you said and without knowing the specifics about the old website, I would recommend that you do not abandon the old domain. If the dentist who is retiring has been in business for a long time, his domain probably has some nice value built up with some nice backlinks. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee that his domain will have much more value than the brand new domain. So instead of abandoning it, I would 301 redirect the old pages to the corresponding pages of the new website. In that way, the value of the old domain is transferred over to the new domain. Not to mention the fact that some people may still have marketing materials with the old domain on it and will go visit it. So by doing a 301 redirect, you can at least ensure that they are redirected to the new website and that potential client is not lost. Just a suggestion.
 
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Definitely not throwing out the old domain. I want as little connection between it and the new one as possible, though. I have first hand experience with how confused Google seems to get when you have multiple domains branded to one business. It creates a massive mess. So... there are definitely situations I would use a 301, but I'm afraid in this situation it would hurt more than help.

As far as directing old marketing materials to the new site... that is why we're looking at ways to direct old clientele to the new site with a custom header image + message. Perhaps a huge message that reads - "visit us at our new site" or something like that. I also believe that's a better way to handle a move than to automatically forward visitors to the new domain. The new look of the site and information will shock them already, best tell them why the change has happened instead of leaving them think that things have just changed without any word to existing clientele.

Thanks again, mate. I appreciate the help.
 

David Deering

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Well since you won't actually be using the old domain anywhere but only redirecting it, that wouldn't cause any confusion on Google's part. But I understand your worries and there's certainly nothing wrong with doing it your way. I think you have a good idea to change the content on the home page of the old domain to let his old clientele know that the practice has been taken over by the new dentist and then redirect them to the new site.
 
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