The Role of SEO in Business Rebranding
A decision to rebrand is one of the most critical decisions businesses make. It may be borne out of a shift in focus of the business goals to reinvent a new image, or an attempt to break into a new market and expand their customer base significantly.
Executing a rebrand successfully is no mean feat, and it takes different forms. Sometimes, it may simply be a visual rebrand where the company redesigns its logo and other visual elements to depict their new identity. But one of the riskiest rebranding forms is one that involves a change in the company name.
From an SEO perspective, such a decision, when taken drastically, would lead to loss of web assets, ranking, authority, and traffic. It is almost like beginning a new company and going back to square one. This is why a company planning a rebrand must fully consider the SEO implications in its execution.
When rebranding, SEO is not just some nice add-on; it is critical to determining how fast you would regain authority after launching your new identity. Here are tips on how to integrate SEO into your rebranding strategy for effectiveness.
1. Company Name and Identity
The new company name has to be unique, and one with long-term long-term SEO value. You probably don’t want to use common words, in order to make it easier to rank higher. For SEO value, you may include your region or city name in your company name if you have no plans for expansion beyond that region. If otherwise, then it is not advisable.
Also, make sure that usernames for your new company name are available on ALL the relevant social media platforms. Cross-channel consistency boosts your brand identity, as well as SEO value and it should extend to your other business information online too. Update your company information (NAP) is consistent with relevant directories and Google My Business.
2. Domain Name and Site Migration
Of course, your domain name would be unique. Choose one that captures your full company name, for easy recognition. Normally, you want to replicate content from your old site to the new, in order to preserve your authority, rather than start over. 301-redirect every page on your old site to the page with the corresponding content on your new site and use a similar URL structure on both.
Use the Change of Address tool in Google Search Console to update Google on your new identity. And likewise, update your information on Google Analytics. Backup the old site through the whole process. And once the new site is launched, keep the old site on for a short time before closing it down entirely.
3. Website Design and Technical SEO
- Use responsive design. This is designing a website to automatically adapt its content to the shape and orientation of whatever device the site is being viewed on.
- Make sure your website is mobile-optimized. Even better, create ‘Accelerated Mobile Pages’, a Google Search feature for a fast browsing experience.
- Page speed is important. Make sure your new website loads very fast by compressing heavy media, reducing browser redirects, leveraging browser caching, etc. There are tools, including Google’s PageSpeed Insights that you can use to determine the rate at which your webpages load, and make necessary adjustments.
- Include some detail about your old identity in the title tags, meta descriptions, meta tags, etc. of your posts. You can extend this to your Website footer, guest posts, and so on. A simple ‘XYZ (formerly known as ABC)’ would do.
4. Content Optimisation
Preserve your existing content from your old site by duplicating them to the new. This would ensure that you don’t lose authority. Google takes its E-A-T factors (Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness) seriously. As you do that, comb through every post and replace information associated with your old identity (e. g., company name) with the relevant new information. This is always a painstaking work. Update outdated information on any page before duplicating them onto your new site.
The About Us page on your new website should contain information about your old identity, and link to your old website homepage. You can tell the story about what necessitated the change. This method helps Google to relate both sites and identities together. It also keeps your customers from confusion. Do vice versa likewise. Create a page on your old site that explains your new identity, and also includes a link to the homepage of the new site.
5. Links & Citation Outreach
This is quite some work. Google rates links highly. And some SEO experts even suggest that it is the most important ranking factor.
Therefore, you want to make sure that old links and mentions of your old name don’t remain the same.
You first have to use a tool such as Moz, Ahrefs, or Majestic to find sites that have linked to or mentioned your brand. Following that, you need an email outreach. Reach out to the webmasters of those sites, asking them to change the information on their sites. There are no guarantees here. But trying at all brings surprisingly great results. Do this long before the new brand identity is due to launch.
6. Online Promotion
Assuming you have collected the email addresses of your customers, the fastest way to inform them of the change is through an email announcement. It should detail why the change had occurred and how you hope to serve them better. For the rest of the public, make an announcement through press releases on popular PR platforms.
To build authority for your new website and accelerate awareness, write guest posts that link to and talk about your new website and identity. And don’t forget to promote heavily on social media. Run campaigns to have followers discussing your new identity. Brand awareness is key.
7. Results Monitoring and Audit
You should have set performance metrics before beginning against which you would measure the outcomes against your goals after the launch. Don’t be too worried if your traffic doesn’t pick up pace in the first few days after launch. Even under the most perfect conditions, initial fluctuations in the ranking are only normal, and even to be anticipated.
Perform frequent audits with Google Search Console or any other SEO tool you use. Have it crawl possible errors on the website. Considering how labor-intensive the SEO rebranding process is, it would be no surprise to find that a few errors had escaped your notice. Normally, you’re looking for broken links, missing tags, etc.
Apart from organic traffic, continually monitor your ranking and user signals (click-through rate, bounce rate, dwell time, etc.) How visitors interact with your site is important for SEO.
It is obvious that this would be a long, painstaking process. Depending on how big your brand is, the entire process, from planning to execution, could take several months and even more than a year. But with SEO, patience is always a value. Short-term results don’t cut it; instead, aim for lasting results.