Can You Rebrand A Business Website Without Affecting SEO?

Jun 12, 2023

A common dilemma of the digital age is the need to keep the company brand fresh and current, whilst also maintaining consistency for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes. If your website ranks reasonably well in search engines, it can feel like a gamble to remodel the structure and content. What if you have to start over from scratch?

As any web designer or marketing team will tell you, it takes a lot of effort, time and hard work to bring a website up through the rankings, especially in a highly competitive field. Therefore, the prospect of rebranding can seem a little daunting, if a necessary task. After all, hanging on to an outdated website will eventually work against optimum rankings. 

The steps you need to take will also depend on the extent of the rebrand. If you are simply refreshing the colour scheme and tweaking the logo, you don’t need to worry too much. However if you are changing the company name, updating all the content, and moving domains, there’s a lot to consider. 

Here are some tips that will allow you to carry out the process successfully. 

Identify your strongest keywords

A total rebrand means that you will inevitably lose some of your ranking keywords, especially if you are changing the company name. However, it’s worth auditing your existing pages and keywords to identify your strongest performing keywords. There are plenty of tools such as SEMrush you can use to help with this.

The best keywords should be retained throughout your rebranded content in meta tags and page content. Include those keywords that rank for the first 10-20 pages in major search engines and work to incorporate these throughout the new site. 

If you are changing the company name, be sure to Google it first to check that there are not too many companies out there with a similar or the same name. This is obviously for legal as well as SEO purposes. 

Other factors to consider include how memorable and easy to pronounce the name is. A fancy Latin word might sound cool, but if no one knows how to pronounce it they won’t remember it, or it may just seem aloof and pretentious.

Set up redirects

If you are changing the web address, it’s essential to set up 301 redirects in order to make sure that traffic is redirected to your new URL. If you have a large website that has been completely restructured, this can be a lengthy and time consuming process, but it’s important to get it right to avoid losing potential customers. 

However, take care to use a custom 404 page for any content that you do not intend to keep, because Google may penalise your site with lower rankings if it perceives outdated or irrelevant content. 

Review the backlinks

Good quality backlinks to external sites can help to boost SEO rankings, but over time the relevancy of links can change, which again Google will count against the site when it comes to rankings. Therefore, make sure any outdated links are removed and that your best links are updated with the new data.
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