A few years ago I was working with a Fire and Security entrepreneur who grows his customer base by acquiring other Fire and Security businesses.
But if that’s your strategy for acquiring new customers, you also need to have a strategy for your website and local SEO.
Growing Your Fire and Security Business By Acquisition – An Example
Acquisition 1: My client purchased Business A Based in Town A for whom I was the web developer. We had been employed to implement digital marketing for several years. The domain and Google Map listing were well established for Town A and they could also rank for a few other local towns because they had such good local authority with Google.
Acquisition 2: The client then purchased Business B Based in Town B. He closed their office and did a 301 redirect from that business’s website through to the website of Business A so that the customers of Business B knew what was happening but losing the potential to rank in Town B because there was no longer a physical address or map listing.
Acquisition 3: Next up was Business C Based in Town C. He left the website, offices and Google Map listing intact. The company continued to rank well both organically and in the local map listings. We ran a nice link through from the website of Business C to the website of Business A.
Acquisition 4: The website and Google Map listing for Business D Based in Town D were also left in situ. But they had bigger offices so my client closed the office in Town A and moved Business A to Town D. They had the same address but a different phone number so Google was able to work out that this was two different businesses operating out of the same address.
To try to avoid the costs of a redirecting telephone number, the main contact number for Business A was changed from a Town A local number to a Town D local number. However, there were still a lot of advertising assets which showed the Town A local number so, whilst reduced, the redirection costs were still relatively high.
Acquisition 5: My client was spending money again a few months later, purchasing a portion of Business E based in Town E. He asked for the website to be closed and 301 redirected to the website of Business A. This meant that all the customers of Business E started going directly to the website of Business A, increasing the traffic flow for a lot of their main keywords and helping the ranking of Business A. But he didn’t take over the existing phone number
What my client did not realise was that someone would immediately purchase the old phone number of Business E. This number appeared on a large quantity of signs around Town E that it was not possible to change. The owner of the new phone number was able to take advantage of a huge amount of free advertising that drives people straight to his office via a phone call. Ni-ice… but infuriating for the buyer of the original business!
Acquisition 6: And, finally, Business F was acquired. This time a lesson was learned over the website and this was kept live. The phone number was changed to the main number for Business A and the contact form routing through to Business A’s customer service team. There was no way he was going to lose access to a phone number that was wellknown in the area this time. This was managed with a redirect.
What Fire and Security Entrepreneurs need to know about Local SEO and Google Maps
1. If at all possible, retain all the physical and digital assets of the business – website, office address and phone number.
It may be expensive to run redirects from those old telephone numbers. But if you have a large amount of advertising assets that display the old number over which you have no control, it is better to do that than risk losing access to potential inbound customers.
It may be expensive to maintain a presence in that location. But it allows you to retain any map listing rankings that the business has acquired. You have to work out whether the cost can be matched by the amount of visitors that map listing sends to you via phone or your email contact form or in person.
2. Keep the website for each acquisition live and kicking. Add links from these complementary sites to the web pages of your main brand. A nice authority backlink for industry and sometimes also for location. Blog regularly and interlink between your acquisitions.
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