Planning for a rebrand soon?
Well, it can certainly help you beat your competitors when done perfectly. But, this is not going to be an easy feat. There’s so much for you to reckon with- soul-searching, repositioning, creativeness, legal headaches, and last but not the least, Google!
Undoubtedly, all the hard work that you’ve put forward in marketing is completely based on building fantastic brand recognition and the rightmost online visibility.
And, when it comes to transitioning to a new name and domain, there’s a fair chance that you might put everything at risk. It is true that rebranding can altogether let your SEO rankings suffer temporarily and you must know the best SEO practices to beat this hassle. Rest it is definitely assured that you can protect your precious SEO rankings while going through the rebranding effort too.
How is it technically possible?
Follow these precise tips to know how you can stay at the top of SERPs for your most significant keywords.
1. Don’t omit your existing content
When it’s about rebranding a business, it is often not limited up to a change in the domain name only. Rather, it can result in an entire redesigning of your website. In that case, even if you’ve completely changed your website design, try to persist with your original content whenever possible.
If you feel that creating new content is simply unavoidable then make sure that it closely resembles your original version. The right kind of content marketing can be further beneficial for you. It will help you not lose your authority drastically and you can eventually save your rankings from dropping.
2. Make use of the redirects rightly
The most important aspect of SEO, when it’s about rebranding, is the 301 redirection of your pages followed by tracking your website in Webmaster tools from your old site to new site. Precisely, 301 direction is the key to maintain the domain authority and search rankings when the URL of a site is being changed.
Hence, you must redirect each and every page from your old site to the corresponding new one. It’s not that tough as long as your pages are .php documents. You can use the following code in your header :
Header ( “HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently” );
Header( “Location: http://www.new-url.com” );
3. Let your contact information be updated
When it comes to local businesses, co-citations are really important for SEO. It is true that Google bots crawl your website and verify the available contact details in it to determine rankings. So, the contact information that you’ve mentioned on other sites such as Google Plus should always match with your website’s one.
In case, you are going to change the physical location of your business then you need to update that information everywhere – your directory listings, Google ‘My Business’ page, as well as each and every possible off-site profile that you’ve.
4. Keep your authorship up-to-date
It is true that a website’s authorship doesn’t hold the same level of importance like how it did when it was first introduced. However, it still tends to be an integral part of the ranking algorithm. Thus, it is necessary to ensure that your authorship is always updated.
One of the smartest ways to do that could be reaching out to your contributors and asking them to update the domain of your website in their contributor links. You can easily do that by asking the contributors with whom you are still in touch. When it comes to the old writers, walk an extra mile, call them up, and request them to make a change as well.
5. Promote your new name
The most substantial source of organic search traffic originates from visitors who search for brand-name keywords. If your new brand-name is much more than just a slight variation of your old one, you’re certainly going to lose a significant share of the brand-name traffic.
Thence, you must inform all your existing customers regarding the change, update your business cards accordingly to reflect the change in a prominent way and so on. Also, you can opt for a new press release with the updated brand-name and do some potential social media promotion for an extra boost.
6. Try to keep the same URL structure
To preserve the URL structure of your website is not really important if you are making use of the redirects properly. Howbeit, if you’ve decided to change the internal links manually and you think that you might forget to redirect otherwise, this trick would be a real help. Maintaining your URL structure can effectively cut-down the risk of any human error and thus, you will be left with fewer broken links than expected.
7. Keep your old website up for some time
To optimize your website is not a one day task. It takes months and years of constant hard work to make it ‘The Best’. So, it certainly doesn’t make any sense to call it off as soon as your new website is launched.
The experts even suggest that it shouldn’t be done at all to avoid a massive loss. It’s because the servers often take many days to get accustomed to the new IP address. So, you shouldn’t instantly delete the old one right after the new website is live. It could let you potentially spoil all your SEO works altogether.
So, play it safe and leave the old site there for at least 5-7 days. It will give the search engines a required time to recognize your rebranded site. Just one thing that you should remember here is that crawlers aren’t able to access your old site.
8. Don’t forget to benchmark the important KPIs
If your business is already thriving in the marketing industry, you are probably aware of the importance of measuring everything. Howbeit, the historical records of analytics data becomes much more important when it comes to rebranding.
It is always recommended to take some time out for specifying the most important KPIs which are leading up to the transition. Some of the major landmarks to consider are:
Traffic: You should break it down to various channels like organic, referral, direct etc.
Ranking: Do the document positioning of at least 20-30 of your most prominent keywords. They might include from both of your brand names- old and new one.
Links: Make a list of all your backlinks. These sites that link to your website are important for you and you can’t afford to lose them while rebranding.
Citations: They are nothing but the ‘mentions’ of your old brand name in various important places online. You can look for them either by manually searching in the Google or you can altogether mechanize the process while using the tools like BrightLocal or Yext.
9. Incorporate structured markup
Rebranding your website is nothing but redesigning your website. Right? So, it tends to be the perfect time to add structured markup to all sorts of content that are present on your website. If you are about to add CMS templates, you can add structured markup into these templates while you’re doing the final edit before going for a relaunch.
All that you can do is refer to Schema.org. Thus, you would get a comprehensive list of all the categories of structured markup. Finally, test your markup with the help of Google Structured Data Testing Tool as soon as the site is live.
Isn’t it pretty easy to hold on high search engine rankings while rebranding?
It just takes you to follow these aforementioned effective tips and that’s it! You will definitely not lose anything and rebranding will be only a profitable chapter for your business and nothing else.
Wish you a successful transition of your brand!
Ananya is a senior content writer at Blurbpoint Media. She creates content that helps clients grow their businesses.
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