Whatever reason you’ve decided to rebrand your company, it’s never just as simple as just doing it. Quite a bit goes into rebranding and too often, SEO is often under accounted for. Where exactly does SEO fit into rebranding? The last thing you want is to have worked so hard at SEO only to lose all that progress after a name change.
With a little research and a healthy dose of effort, decreased SEO rankings doesn’t have to be a biproduct of your rebranding efforts.
Disclaimer: You will likely notice a slight decrease in your SEO after you’ve rebranded, but if you take the necessary steps, you shouldn’t suffer a tremendous loss in SEO.
6 Steps to Maintaining SEO When Rebranding
1. Keep Your Original Domain Name - If Possible
2. Maintain Existing Content
3. Refrain from Deleting Your Old Website Right Away
4. Prepare Your 301 Redirects
5. Update Your Citations and Backlinks
6. Ensure Your New Site is Mobile Friendly
Keep Your Original Domain Name - If Possible
It may not always be feasible, but to really give yourself the best possible start to rebranding while maintaining your SEO try to keep the same domain name (URL of your website). More often than not though, when a company seeks to rebrand, the name is the most common change. So, maintaining the same domain may not always be possible.
If you are able to however, there may be minimal to no change to your SEO or Domain Authority (DA).
Maintain Existing Content
You’ve likely been working on the content of your website for a while ensuring that you’re hitting on those valuable keywords/key phrases to show up in search engines. If you’re going with a new website all together and/or a new domain, try to salvage as much of the content on your website to preserve those keywords stashed in your website’s content and blogs.
This is particularly valuable for both companies that are and are not changing domains. For companies that decide to use the same domain but perhaps are considering redoing their website, you should also try to salvage as much of the content on your website as well.
Refrain from Deleting Your Old Website Right Away
If you are going to use a new domain for your rebranding, you’ll want to leave your old website up for at least a few days after your new website launches. The reason for leaving your old website up for at least a few days (or weeks preferably) is because it can potentially take the servers several days to recognize new IP addresses. This means that if you were to take down your old website as soon as your new website launches you could potentially ruin your hard work.
Prepare Your 301 Redirects
To keep both users and search engines happy, you’ll need to redirect all of the pages from your old website to the most relevant/similar page on your new website. This can all be setup and ready to go when your new website goes live without officially going live until your website does.
If your old site and your new site both have the same pages and similar URL structure, this process could be as simple as adding a couple lines of code to simply reroute the pages. For those with different pages and/or URL structure, this process may be a bit more time consuming.
These 301 redirects are pretty important and can often be overlooked. The search engines could end up downranking your websites if your 301 redirects aren’t in place or working properly on top of creating a poor user experience. Here’s another vital reason for 301 redirects that many business owners simply don’t take into account: backlinks. If your website has been around for a little while and/or you’ve spent any time or money on backlinks to boost the authority of your website, those 301 redirects can redirect any traffic to your new page.
Update Your Citations and Backlinks
Local SEO can be critical to ranking higher in your local area and consists of building citations (listings) in directories to help you rank higher in the search engines local listings as well as to drive more traffic to your business. When rebranding, you’ll want to ensure that you’re updating all of those citations to ensure your company’s NAPs (name, address and phone number) are accurate. Search engines may downrank you if they don’t know which name or contact information is accurate.
Backlinks obtained through white hat methods should be preserved as best as possible to avoid any drop in SEO. In addition to creating 301 redirects, you should reach out to webmasters on any sites that you may have a backlink from to get any links updated to your current page to maintain your backlinks.
Ensure Your New Website is Mobile Friendly
All you have to do is look at your analytics or insights to see that the majority of traffic to your website and social accounts come from mobile devices. The search engines know this and are placing more value in websites that are optimized for mobile devices. It’s not just about ensuring things are aesthetically pleasing on the mobile version of your website, but also that you are working to improve the user experience through things like faster load times, etc.
Rebranding is like putting together a puzzle. There are lots of pieces, but each piece to the puzzle is just as important. Don’t be afraid to rebrand, just make sure that you’ve done your homework and are doing as much as you can to preserve the SEO and search engine rankings you’ve worked so hard to establish. Remember to be realistic as well. Go into the process knowing that there will likely be some drop in your domain authority and SEO to avoid disappointment but remember there are ways to reduce the impact.
Whether you’ve decided to go out on your own or bring in a marketing agency like Pendragon Consulting to help you rebrand, always do your research and never be afraid to take the next step. To book a free consultation to discuss your website’s SEO, give us a call at 443-343-2313 or send us a secure message via our website today.