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Maintain SEO Rankings When Launching a New Website, Changing An Organization's Name or Merging Two Businesses Together.

Recently a client came to us who was acquiring a business with a strong organic search engine ranking.  They wanted to change the business’s name, domain name, email addresses… everything but they were very concerned about losing the ranking the business enjoyed in Google and other search engines.

And rightly so.  A poorly thought out strategy for changing a business name or even launching a new website can easily result in lost business and having to start over in search engines can take months or even years.

Luckily for our client we have experience in domain migration and brand establishment on the web. We were able to create a new website for them in a content management system that was familiar to them and were able to deploy the new site with virtually no loss of ranking and no remnants of the old business name on the web.  

Our client’s new brand literally took over the old brand on the web in a few weeks time with no loss in search engine rankings.

So, how did we do it?  

  1. Number one, we formed a plan.  We created a road map or vision document in which we ensured that we had access to everything we would need and that all the players were working together towards the same goal and launch date.
  2. We ensured we redirected the company domain appropriately. Incorrect DNS configuration would have likely resulted in a very negative result in search results rather than maintaining the rankings the current domain had established over the years.
  3. When building the new website we emulated the existing site map as closely as we could and created redirects where we had to. We wanted to make indexing the new domain as easy on Google as possible, especially when it came to pages that had already been well established in search engines for specific terms.
  4. We took great care to establish the core keywords for each page and made certain our new content was optimized for them.
  5. We timed the updating of local listings and social media profiles carefully. We wanted to make sure all profiles changed to the new brand with uniform citations and only once the new website was completely launched and the old domain redirected properly.
  6. We used Google Search Console to communicate to Google what was happening. By using Search Console for both the old and new domains, we were able to increase the speed and depth Google replaced the old domain and indexed the new content.
  7. We ensured that the old email addresses would still work and timed an announcement to our clients that allowed for the “digital dust to settle”. This meant all internal billing and communication systems, email signatures, etc… all changed simultaneously.

Working together with our client we are proud to have maintained their ranking in search engines and all but erased the old brand from the web and replaced it with their shiny new brand and domain.

It’s not often a company needs to launch a new website or change an organization’s name and/or domain name but if you find yourself about to make a change like this, keep in mind you will need to consider everything from Google Maps to your LinkedIn profile and the number one asset you want to hang on to is that “authority” the business has established in search engines.  

It can take years to rank a website number one on Google for an industry search term and that rank should be protected when launching a new site, merging two companies together or even just changing the organization name.

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