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Seven SEO Steps to Rebranding Your Company

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Seven SEO Steps to Rebranding Your Company

Launching a successful rebranding campaign can seem like a terrifying, formidable task, especially if you think about the potential risk for your SEO rankings. The last thing you want to do after building up your SEO is to lose all that progress because you decided to change your company’s name.

Thankfully enough, decreased SEO rankings doesn’t have to be a bi-product of rebranding, as long as you do your research. Always take the necessary steps to make it a smooth transition and don’t be afraid of a little effort and hard work. Your business will thank you in the end when your SEO doesn’t drop tremendously immediately upon introducing your new brand.

Your 7 First SEO Considerations When Rebranding

Read below to find out which steps you should take first when considering a rebrand.

1. Try to Keep Your Original Domain Name

This is the best way to start rebranding; it keeps the process simple and has the least chance of damaging your SEO rankings. That being said, we understand that keeping the same name isn’t always possible, or practical. This is especially true during a rebrand. Too often a company name is exactly what needs to be changed to give your business a makeover and a fresh start. Just make sure you understand that if you do decide to change your domain name, you run the risk of losing a lot of search engine traffic.

If you feel like you have to make the change, read the next step about preserving your original content closely, and don’t skip the part about redirects.

You can also read this article to find out more about the necessary steps to take when changing your domain name.

2. Preserve Your Existing Content Whenever Possible

Even if you have to completely revamp your business name and website, try to maintain your original content as best you can. If you feel like you have to create new content, try to closely replicate your old stuff. This will help you to avoid losing your authorship and authority, and thus will prevent your rankings from dropping. Don’t overlook simple things like your fonts and headers; maintaining these little details could make a big difference when it comes to SEO.

Read this article to learn more about improving your website’s navigation to optimize SEO.

3. If Not Forever, Maintain Your Old Site for a Short Time

How long to preserve your old site seems to be a point of contention in the SEO rebranding world. Some experts suggest leaving it up for a few days, while others say it doesn’t hurt to maintain it permanently. It seems like you have to make a decision based on what you have time for and what will work best for your specific company.

Leaving it up forever (but inactive) will require more time on your part, because it’s smart to revisit the site periodically to make sure it’s not causing any problems. Some business owners suggest doing this so you don’t lose the URL, and in case you get nostalgic down the road and want to reuse or revisit the site.

One thing they can agree on, however, is NOT to take down your old site as soon as the new one has launched. It can potentially take servers several days to recognize the new IP address. This means if you delete your old site after 24 hours you could ruin all your hard work. It’s not hurting anyone to leave it up for about 3-7 days, so play it safe and don’t hit the “delete” button too quickly.

4. Use Redirects Correctly

You should redirect every page from your old site to the corresponding page of your new site to optimize the user’s experience. This could be very easy or quite complicated, depending on your URL structure. It’s easiest if you maintain the same website pages and URL structure. If this is what you’ve done, skip the rest of this paragraph and move on to the next step. If you haven’t kept the same URL structure, read on here.

If your sites have different pages and different URL structures it’s not the end of the world, but it does make things a little more complicated. Because you can’t redirect old pages to the exact same page on the new site, you’ll need to redirect them to the most relevant page on your new site (hence why it’s helpful to closely replicate old content whenever possible). Hubspot suggests using this code:

Redirect 301 /old-sample-page.html http://www.newdomain.com/new-sample-page.html

Redirect 301 /old-sample-page-2.html http://www.newdomain.com/new-sample-page-2.html

They propose creating a spreadsheet with the URLs for the old site in one column and the URLs for the new site in another column. This obviously could be pretty time-consuming, so be sure to prioritize and start with the pages that generate the most traffic. We’ve tried this and found that it works great once you get the hang of it.

5. Try to Retain the Same URL Structure

If you do this, your redirects should be fairly simple. All you need to is redirect your website pages from the old site to the same pages on the new site. Again according to HubSpot, all you’ll need to do this are a few lines of code. They recommend using the following, and then swapping out your domains accordingly:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^olddomain.com$ [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.olddomain.com$
RewriteRule (.*)$ http://www.newdomain.com/$1 [R=301,L]

6. Shout Your New Brand from the Rooftops

Definitely update all your social media sites. Depending on the social media platform, this can be simple or challenging. There are a few things to keep in mind when rebranding on social media:

  1. Facebook only allows you to change your page name and URL one time. Just once. So keep that in the back of your head if you decide to make a change.
  2. There are a lot of IDs that aren’t in use on Twitter, so if someone has the one you want but isn’t active, reach out to see if you can take it over (this is what Twitter suggests because they’re very slow at deactivating these accounts themselves).
  3. LinkedIn is an easy site to deal with when rebranding, unless someone already has your company name. If that’s the case, you may need to alter your company name just a little (think about keeping the name the same, but adding on a tagline after it). To change the URL, you have to contact LinkedIn directly.

This article goes into more detail about exactly how to update your social media sites. Also, if you don’t feel like your social media game is on par, you can check out this guide to learn how to make improvements to your social media presence.

In addition to updating your social platforms, spread the word about your new brand via press releases, email announcements, guest posts, and other forms of online advertising. Promoting your new brand can only help you, so don’t skimp in this area or all your hard work could be for nothing.

Finally, to find out if your marketing is working, make sure to monitor the traffic and rankings for your new site. It’s not uncommon to make a mistake when rebranding considering everything that goes into it; just make sure to be diligent so you can catch and fix mistakes quickly.

7. Don’t Forget about Your Mobile Site!

Marketing via mobile devices is just as popular, if not more so, than actual computers. Don’t neglect your mobile site when rebranding. Make sure your new pages are mobile friendly, meaning easy to access, easy to read, etc. (read this article if you’re not sure what your mobile site should look like).

Consider how much traffic your site gets from mobile devices. If this is what the majority of your audience uses, you might want to think about launching your mobile site first. If it isn’t, however, then it’s probably safe to focus on your main site first and then after that’s up and running work on creating an equivalent version for mobile.

Hopefully, now the idea of rebranding your company is slightly less daunting. Don’t be afraid to do it, just make sure you put the time and effort necessary to make your attempt successful.

Do you have experience with rebranding? What steps did you take to ensure your new business profile was successful? Comment and let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

Image Credits

Featured Image: bloomua/DepositPhotos.com
In-post Photo: mindscanner/DepositPhotos.com

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Sergio Aicardi

Sergio Aicardi

Director of Operations at The Miami SEO Company

As a search engine marketing specialist and blogger, I truly enjoy sharing my insights with those that are interested in ... [Read full bio]

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