How to Rebrand Without Losing your SEO Value
Help search engines help you
The value of a brand has a huge effect on search engine rankings and organic traffic. Depending on nature of rebranding, it has a varying level of impact on SEO and your placement in SERPs. Sometimes you just need to refresh design and update images, or you might decide to make a full rebrand — changing your brand name, relocating the website, and developing new content and messaging – this is a potential risk for your SEO rankings.
The good news is that there are ways to keep your hard-earned SEO value. In this blog post, we share some of the tips that help you conduct rebranding without compromising your SEO and placement in SERPs. If you follow these next steps, the negative effect should be minimal.
1. Set up 301 Redirects
If you kept the same content and URL structure, setting up 301 redirects is one of the simplest step in the rebranding and redesign process. Once you are prepared to take your new website live, redirect every web page from your old website to your new site’s appropriate section.
If you changed your URL structure, setting up 301 redirects is a little more challenging. However, definitely worth your time to set up corresponding pages individually.
Important: Search engines will take some time to approve the 301 and trust the new website. Be patient and don’t expect instant results.
2. Preserve SEO Value
Search engines, like people, prefer familiar content. Any time things change, search engines notice. To avoid losing your authorship and page authority, try to keep your current content wherever possible.
We know that you may want to create brand new content to align with your updated positioning or new brand name for your business. In this case our recommendation is to dive deep in the audit results to identify top performing pages and backings that generate the most search traffic for you.
Combining old and new content, with added relevant keywords and redirecting to a new page will help you to preserve proven valuable assets to maintain SEO value. Be aware If Google decides that a redirected page isn’t relevant for new page, it may generate a 404 error.
3. Keep Original Domain Name & URL Structure (where possible)
Rebranding doesn’t always mean renaming. If you’re just refreshing the brand, we usually recommend avoiding changing brand names where possible (for multiple reasons), instead focus on refreshing the logo, typography, brand symbols, colors, slogans and positioning.
From SEO standpoint, keeping your original domain name is the best way to relocate your website site without risk of loosing hard-earned SERPs rankings. If you’re brand name does change, consider keeping your current URL structure, unless your existing site is unorganized.
4. Notify Google of Changes
Once you’ve finalized your website and it’s live, don’t forget to notify search engines, particularly Google. Google Analytics and Google Search Console are two of the most important tools for SEO. We recommend including these in your rebranding checklist and informing them of your domain name change, as well as submitting an updated sitemap.xml file to Google Search Console if you made any modifications.
5. Implement Changes Slowly
It’s often better to make changes slowly and not to remove your old site shortly after launching your new one. Keep it live for a couple of weeks if possible, as long as it doesn’t impact on other areas of your rebrand or brand launch campaign. Usually, Google may need several days to recognize the new IP address and index it.
Even if rebranding doesn’t lead to any domain or URL structure change, try to make changes step-by-step and regularly monitor your ranking in between. Our advice is start with something like the design, then update images and so on.
6. Promote Your New Brand
Finally, it is time to start promoting your new website and brand. This will have a huge positive impact on SEO performance and help you to recover your search engine rankings.
You can do the following to earn some new backlinks and brand mentions:
- social media
- email newsletters
- PPC advertising
Hopefully, the tips provided in this blog post will help you implement your rebranding without losing search rankings. If you do it right, the negative effect will be minimal.
Once you follow these steps, continue closely monitoring all the key SEO indicators during the next couple of months. Be prepared to experience a temporary dip in search traffic. That’s totally fine if you can quickly take corrective action.
If you still need help with your rebranding strategy, we’re always here to help – get in touch today!