How to Keep Your SEO Rankings When You Rebrand

Oliver Cox

A rebrand is an opportunity to start fresh, but don’t forget your SEO rankings when you redesign your site.

When your company rebrands, it’s an opportunity to manifest a new vision and make a new first impression. You might change your logo, change your name (like us!), or build a new website. If you’re starting fresh with a new site, there’s one thing you’ll definitely want to take with you from the old one — your SEO rankings.

Why Preserving Your SEO Ranking Is Important 

According to HubSpot’s 2020 “Not Another State of Marketing Report,” 55 percent of marketers surveyed consider search engine optimization very or extremely important to their overall marketing strategy, and about 50 percent of marketers consider their SEO tactics very effective in helping them achieve their goals. 

Your SEO ranking are crucial to attracting new prospects and directing traffic to your site, but adapting to the rapidly changing world of SEO is tricky. When you create a new site with a new domain name — as we did — it gets even trickier to ensure you get noticed. You might inadvertently delete URLs or high-ranking pages as you clean house, for instance. Then, instead of reaching your new site, search engine queries will direct to a 404 error page, costing you traffic and valuable leads

The rest of your rebrand can go flawlessly, but if you neglect SEO, your new site will be off to a slow start. The SEO rankings you’ve built up over the years are too good to leave behind, so it’s best to preserve them — but how? 

How to Launch a New Site Without Damaging Your SEO Ranking

To help companies looking to rebrand, here are four simple tips for building and launching your new site with SEO in mind:

1. Replicate Your Content

Don’t delete old content, even if it’s outdated! Google’s bots have been systematically crawling and indexing your content for years — that’s where you get your credibility and authority. If you don’t transfer your old content to your new site, you’ll lose your hard-earned rankings. Your best bet is to migrate your content, page by page, to the new site as much as possible. 

2. Use Redirects

Try to mirror your existing URL structure as closely as possible — even if you have a new name — to preserve your rankings. This will make setting up one-to-one redirects easy. Redirects preserve your organic search traffic while providing a path of crawlers to take to your new site. It also provides a seamless user experience. Remember that every page on your old site must redirect to the same or similar content on your new site.  

Over time, the algorithm will become familiar with your new site, and it will pick up rankings where the old one left off. We recommend keeping a spreadsheet of old and new URLs to ensure that the redirects go smoothly.

3. Find Out What You Rank Highly For

Another way to keep your SEO rankings is to allow your past successes to inform your current strategy. Use a tool like SEMrush to find out which keywords you ranked highly for and play to them again. 

For new pages, start your keyword research from scratch. You’ll want a wide variety of keyword topics that are important to you, but not too general. For example, if you’re hiring and you rank highly for “open positions” or “we’re hiring,” this is probably not helpful for lead generation.

Aim for keywords that are the perfect balance of relevance, authority, and volume. Shortlist “searched keywords” that you can reasonably compete with. This will depend on your industry’s landscape and your ability to create high-quality content on par with what’s already ranking. 

4. Don’t Forget To Follow Up

For the first few months after your rebrand, you’ll need to monitor a few things to make sure the transition to the new site has gone smoothly. Make sure that your most important and relevant links have been updated with the new brand information, then turn your attention to the rest. Look out for crawl errors and 404s and address them as soon as they appear.

Finally, keep a watchful eye on your new site’s traffic, rankings, and KPIs. If you notice a slight dip in traffic within the first month or two, that’s normal. Soon, all of your updates should be indexed by the search engine and your traffic will rebound to where it once was. A big drop, however, means that there may be a deeper issue that needs your attention. 

Retain Your Rankings Through a Rebrand

When building a new site, maintaining your SEO rankings will take some work — but it isn’t impossible. It’s worth working with a partner who can help navigate a site redesign — without losing your rankings. If you’re looking for guidance on how to keep your momentum going through a rebrand, we invite you to reach out to us

Oliver Cox

Digital Innovation Lead

Originally from the UK, now builds custom strategies to share our clients' visions and stories. Novelist and musician in his spare time.

Read more of Oliver's Articles