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SEO and Rebranding
Pitfalls to Avoid

Thursday, 21st of November 2019

Whether it is a complete rebranding strategy or simply a refresh of your brand identity, there is always a long list of actions to be taken to ensure a smooth transition. Effectively managing that move in the digital landscape can be particularly challenging if your rebranding exercise involves any change to your brand name and in particular your 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 can be a great way to refresh your brand appeal, reposition your offering in the marketplace or support expansion into new markets. However, if a new look requires a new name, then having a well structured rebranding strategy in place should support a successful change process. Whether your are managing the process in-house or working with a digital marketing or brand management company then highlighted below are just some of the 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 the negative impact on the authority you have achieved for your current SEO strategy through well optimised content. Continuity will ensure your rankings do not drop and attention to detail is key, so consider:

  1. Metadata  Рalt tags, descriptions Рensure they are updated to reflect the new brand whilst maintaining some of the key content that established your current brand
  2. Add & verify your new site on Google Search Console using your current Google account and utilise their tools to support new URL’s and redirects
  3. 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
  4. If your rebranding is more about a new look than a completely new market – then try and maintain existing content in a similar format as much as possible to avoid damaging your search rankings and keep in mind fonts, headers etc and not just text. 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 and dramatic changes will see you lose valuable rankings and traffic.
  5. URL structure  Рas with your content maintaining your URL structure as much as possible on your new site will minimise the impact on your rankings
  6. Redirects – similar to when you move 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 relevant page on the new site. Maintaining the current URL structure will simplify the redirect process by allowing like for like matches. If they URL’s are also changing then map out each old page to a suitable new page on the new site 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 – once you ensure they are only switched once the new site is live.
  7. Manage your links –¬† internal and external
  8. Mobile strategy – with the dramatic growth in organic search on mobile devices, optimising your mobile offering should also be a priority, with rigorous checks to ensure it is fully optimised.
  9. Benchmark you analytics across all channels and set clear goals so you can easily measure and evaluate performance post live
  10. Make use of some of the SEO tools available to monitor and audit your website and its SEO such a SemRush and Ahrefs

If well managed your rebranding exercise can 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.