Whatever your reason for rebranding may be, you know it’s going to take a lot more work and strategy than merely getting a new logo.
Rebranding is a process of dedicated transformation, where you’ll need to carefully project your emerging brand’s values, messaging, and overall image. In this meticulous process, there’s one crucial aspect that no business, no matter the size, can afford to overlook: your online presence.
When you’ve invested all that time and resources into building your old brand in the digital space and boosting your website ranking, it would be ludicrous to turn your back to it all. Domain migrations and website redesign are a crucial part of the SEO- friendly rebranding process, and this is where small mistakes will cost you a lot of Google points, which translates to website traffic.
A smart rebranding strategy takes SEO very seriously so that you don’t end up losing brand-related traffic and rankings.
In this article, we’re going to go over the key tips and hacks to make sure your business is easing into an SEO-friendly transition.
1. Don’t decide on a new name without checking the web first
Changing your company name falls under the category of radical rebranding. But it’s often necessary both for brands who’re looking to rise from the ashes or those whose rebranding efforts are directed toward market expansion.
This is obviously one of the most important decisions you’ll make, both from a marketing standpoint and because a new name entails migrating to a new domain and plunging into the design of your new website.
Of course, you want the new company name to be memorable, reflect your emerging brand identity, and be relevant to your target consumer base.
But keep in mind that your new company name and domain name should be the same in order to increase your site’s visibility on Google. This means that before picking out a name, you should first check whether it would be easy to rank on Google as a domain name.
Here are a few other important things to consider:
- Your domain name needs to be concise, easy to spell, and easy to remember.
- You can add keywords to the domain name to boost your SEO efforts, but if it can’t be done organically, it’s better not to do it at all.
- Check the availability of the potential company name on your preferred social media networks too. In order to maintain brand consistency, you should have the same name across all platforms, including social media.
2. Try to keep the same URL structure
Your web developer will do all the necessary work with URL redirecting. In order to optimize the user experience, it’s necessary to make sure that every page from your old site redirects to the appropriate page on the new site.
This is especially important when redirecting to product changes, clearly not only because of SEO but because of the customer experience. Keep everything seamlessly organized in that department, otherwise, you’ll have put a serious dent in your sales funnel.
Of course, redirecting is a no-brainer if your old and new sites have the same URL structure. Keep this in mind when creating the new website.
3. Use a spreadsheet to organize URLs if you change the structure
You might end up deciding that it’s best for your business if your new website had a different URL structure from the previous one. If that’s the case, after all, it’s still nothing dramatic – just more work to ensure old pages redirect to the most relevant pages on the new site.
You’ll be in charge of establishing this relevancy between your old and new pages. In order to stay organized and do this properly, it’s best to create a spreadsheet for the URLs. You’ll have two columns: one with URLs for the old site and another one with the appropriate URLs to the new site.
This takes some time, but it’s absolutely worth it in the end to ensure a smoother transition.
4. Dedicate an entire page to the old brand
When it comes to curtailing the impact of domain migration, this is one of the best hacks you’ll find.
Create a page that will explain the changes you’ve made, why you’ve rebranded, and what your new company is all about.
This page should link to your new homepage using relevant anchor text.
The so-called “bridge page” is good for a number of reasons. It clarifies navigation for visitors and helps Google understand the connection between your old and new site. Most importantly, a bridge page is essential to making your new website relevant for queries that include your old brand name.
Now, people trying to Google your company using the old brand name will actually be able to find you and they’ll promptly be clued in on your rebranding details.
Lastly, don’t hesitate to include a short note on rebranding and a link to the bridge page on multiple pages of your new site, including the homepage.
This helps makes the other pages relevant for old branded queries, while simultaneously increasing the relevance of the bridge page itself.
5. Don’t let go of your existing content
If you were running a well-optimized and useful blog on your website, there’s no reason to chuck it away now. You can take this opportunity to update and optimize the posts before adding them to the new website.
Don’t hesitate to look for SEO experts here to help you bridge the content gap. They can perform an SEO audit, adjust your content, and optimize it for other keywords as well.
Maintaining your original content is not only simple because of URL redirects, but also because it helps you maintain your authorship and authority in Google’s eyes.
However, this may not always be an option and you might end up requiring a clean slate for your new site. If it’s better and easier for your new site that you create new content, try to replicate your old posts.
This will help make the most of your established authority and it will be so much easier to establish relevance between URLs and get that spreadsheet done properly.
Once again, all of this takes time, so a good piece of advice to follow is to prioritize and start with your top-performing content.
6. Harness the power of social media
Social media doesn’t affect SEO directly, but there’s no denying that it’s crucial to your SEO efforts – especially when SEO-friendly rebranding.
Social media is there to announce your new brand, build hype, and help drive tons of traffic to your new site.
First and foremost, you’ll need to update all your social networks. Before you change your ID on a given platform, however, make sure to announce your rebrand. Spread the word way in advance and get your audience excited about what’s coming.
Now, you’ll see how you can go about changing the ID, depending on the platform. If you’re using Twitter for marketing, you even have the option of taking over an inactive account that has the ID you want. Plus, Twitter is the ultimate platform for shouting news from the rooftops, so if you don’t run an account there already, consider this platform to get your new brand out there.
7. Don’t be too hasty with taking down your old site
Once you launch your new site, don’t be too eager to pull the plug on your old one.
It can take servers several days to recognize a new IP address, so don’t risk it or all your hard work could go to waste.
Leave it up for at least three days just to be on the safe side.
And back it up in the meantime – that surely doesn’t hurt anyone, and who knows when you might make use of it down the road.
8. Block your new site from search engines
For the time being, of course – while your old website is still up.
It’s especially important to do this if the pages are mostly the same on the two sites so that you don’t end up with duplicate content issues and shade from Google.
So, the site will be live and functional, but your developer will ensure that it’s invisible to search engines Once the old site is shut down, the new site can be revealed.
There’s a common misconception that businesses rebrand only when they fail or when their reputation is absolutely devastated.
However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Rebuilding a brand is often the result of business success, and it doesn’t mean turning your back on everything you’ve done so far. Rather, it can be a way to build on your existing brand foundations in order to expand and open up to new markets. Sometimes, especially in the fast-paced digital marketplace, rebranding is a healthy way of adapting to market transformations.
And when you approach the process tactfully, with special consideration for your online reputation and SEO efforts, you’re bound for success.
So, are you ready for an exciting re-brand?