Merging a small website into a larger one

What would be the best way to handle this from a Search Engine Optimized point of view? I want to be done with a wordpress wallpaper blog and merge with my coppermine gallery. (So I am not asking on the nuts on bolts of this, more on general pointers).

Here is the situation, I have one larger website (coppermine) with decent traffic and a smaller one with much less content but a pretty high volume of traffic (wordpress). What is the best way to redirect traffic from this high traffic website?

The reason I want to do this is because the lower traffic website is much better in design, user friendliness and bandwidth consumption. So i just want to be done with the other one, but still capture the traffic going there.

I have run into a similar situation before where I switched from one script to another on the same website and was not satisfied with how I handled the transition so I was hoping to hear from you guys and your experience in doing this in a way that is good at retaining traffic and kind in redirecting to the new website.

One thought I just had was reduce everything on the one I want to shut down to a thumbnail that links to the new website.

Would still love to hear some more opinions on this. Arguments for and against consolidating these websites are welcome too.

What you need to do is to put a 301 redirect on every page on the site you’re closing, sending visitors (both real people and search robots) to the relevant page on the site you’re keeping. If you do that, search engines will update their index fairly quickly, and anyone following a link to the old site will be automatically taken to the right page.

Do not just redirect everything to the homepage – search robots will lose interest very quickly if you do that, because they won’t find the content they are looking for and you will definitely see a big drop in your rankings, and it may or may not bounce back – and real people will be immensely cheesed off if, having gone to a page that had relevant content on, they are sent to the homepage and then have to find their way to the relevant page; when I find a site that does that, at least 9 times out of ten I’ll just leave and find what I’m looking for on a site that shows a bit more courtesy to its visitors.

Google will play nice even if the new page looks different? It will have similar keywords and such, but its a completely different website that won’t much resemble the one I want to close.

If the essential content theme is the same then yes, Google will be happy. It couldn’t care less what the pages look like, and it understands that sites do periodically restructure and reorganise so it won’t penalise you for that. The important thing is mapping the old pages to the new pages to make it as easy as possible for Google (and people!) to find its way around.

Is there a general time frame for closing down the old website permanently? It’s paid up for the next 5 1/2 months, so I imagine thats plenty of chance to pick up any stragglers.