How To Completely Redesign A Website Without Losing Rankings

Recently I posted about how I had completely redesigned We took it from a static site that had about 60 html pages and moved to WordPress where the site is dynamic and will have thousands of indexed pages. I knew that in order to compete with the big dogs like I would have to make the switch.

I was most concerned about losing the solid Google rankings the site had achieved, for example it ranked in the top 10 of Google for “online college degree”, “accredited online colleges”, “online accredited colleges”, “top online business schools” and many more. We set up 301 redirects to tell Google that all of the old pages had changed to new pages and then waited hoping for the best.

Setting up the 301 redirects was the most important part because we had changed all of the file names/urls of every page of the website, including the home page. When Google or any search engine tries to access an old page the 301 tells them that the page has permanently moved to a new page and redirects them to the new page. (Here is a good tutorial on 301 redirects)

So we got the new design all ready and then we set up our .htaccess page with all of the 301’s. We added both the site and the .htaccess page to the live server and the new site was live. I started immediately doing link building getting links pointing to the new pages of the site and hoped for the best.

IMPORTANT: The one thing we didn’t change was the domain. If you have to change your domain name I don’t know that there is a way you can do it without losing rankings.

Well it has been about 3 weeks and we haven’t seen much of a drop off if at all in the rankings. If anything we have seen a traffic increase. The site is #5 on Google for “online college degree” and for “online accredited colleges”. Most of our other rankings have stayed the same or improved as well which has caused a consistent increase in traffic to the site. The big term “online degree” which was at about #40 is up to #25. If I get that to page one of Google, look out!

Adam White is a 20+ year entrepreneur having built and sold 18 internet businesses. He currently runs JustReachOut and SquidVision, a new type of landing page optimization software for SaaS companies, and does SaaS and SEO consulting at He lives in Tennessee with his wife and kids and in between SaaS businesses he writes and directs feature films.

3 comments On How To Completely Redesign A Website Without Losing Rankings

  • So does this mean that all of the “deep links” that you had on the old pages just disappear? If that’s the case, it sounds pretty scary.

    I guess it pays to be real particular when building links to certain pages.

  • Hi,

    Did your website continue to rank stable? I am looking to get my website redesigned but have read numerous stories of websites losing their rankings even after using best practice SEO and this is seriously worrying me.

  • Rosh, no the rankings got a lot better because we added so much new stuff for Google to index.

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