Whether it is a complete rebranding strategy or simply revitalising your brand identity, there is always a long list of actions to ensure a smooth transition. Effectively managing the changes in the digital landscape can be challenging, particularly if your rebranding exercise involves any change to your brand name or domain. A recent article in Econsultancy outlined how disastrous the impact can be to your organic search traffic and business overall. If not managed correctly.
New Look… New Name
Although rebranding successfully can be a challenge, it is also an effective way to refresh your brand appeal, reposition your offering in the marketplace, and support expansion into new markets. If a new look requires a new name, then having a well structured rebranding strategy in place should support a successful change process. Whether managing the process in-house or working with a digital marketing or brand management company, the below are some essential steps to include on the checklist:
Steps to Success…
Softly, softly approach. Try not to radically change your content. Resisting the urge for a clean sweep will minimise negative impact on your current SEO strategy through well optimised content. Continuity will ensure your rankings do not drop and attention to detail is key, so consider:
- Metadata: Ensure alt tags and descriptions are updated to reflect the new brand whilst maintaining some of the key content that established your current brand.
- Add and verify your new site on Google Search Console using your current Google account. Then, utilise their tools to support new URLs and redirects.
- If you have the old site and new brand site running at the same time in a transition period, ensure there are no issues with duplicate content. This can result in search engines penalising one website or the other.
- If your rebranding is more about a new look than a completely new market, try to maintain existing content, in a similar format, to avoid damaging your search rankings. Keep fonts and headers in mind, not just what the text says. Your current site will have established search authority for your content and your brand overall, as it has been crawled and indexed over the years. As a result, dramatic changes will see you lose valuable rankings and traffic.
- URL structure: As with content, maintaining your URL structure as much as possible on your new site will minimise negative impact on rankings.
- Redirects: Similar to moving house, having a postal redirect service will ensure letters find their way to your new home. Much the same way with your website, each existing page will need a redirect to the parallel page on the new site. Maintaining the current URL structure will simplify the redirect process by allowing like for like matches. If the URLs are also changing, then map out each old page to a suitable new page and ensure the redirects are set up to match. Managing redirects effectively will enable you to maintain a lot of your site authority and organic search traffic when you transition to the new site. Ensure they are only switched on once the new site is live.
- Manage your links: Ensure all links to third-party websites, or even pages within your own website, are all up-to-date and fitted with the redirects mentioned above, where necessary.
- Mobile strategy: With the dramatic growth in organic search on mobile devices, optimising your mobile offering should be a priority..
- Benchmark analytics across all channels and set clear goals. That way, you can easily measure and evaluate performance post going live.
- Make use of SEO tools to monitor and audit your website, such as SemRush and Ahrefs
If well managed, your rebranding exercise will allow you to maintain rankings as well as opening up new opportunities for traffic and growth. Implementing a proactive digital and social promotional campaign to shout about your new brand to existing and new markets will ensure a smooth transition.