You’ve gone through the long and arduous process of deciding to rebrand your business. New logo, new website, even a new name. You’ve weighed this decision with all your stakeholders and have determined based on data and analyses of your customer base that your brand is no longer resonating with your core audience.
You’re now ready to take the plunge… wait. You haven’t done that?
Please go back and read our blog post on Brand Evolution to help you determine if this is the right decision for your business.
For those of you who have already gone through that process, you’re now wondering, how do I maintain my search visibility? How do I take all of that SEO work I’ve completed in the last several years and ensure it gets translated onto the website? How do I protect my business from taking a hit in the rankings?
And if you’re not wondering these things… well, you should be.
To help, we’ve compiled a checklist for you to make sure you cover all your bases when going through a rebrand.
If you are not changing your company’s name during this rebrand or, for any other reason, can keep your domain name the same, do so. Sometimes, this is entirely unpreventable and that’s okay, but if you can hold onto that domain authority, it’s the best way to go.
While your new website is being developed, make sure to block it from being crawled or found in the robots.txt file. This is will ensure that your customers don’t stumble on it accidentally and get confused that you’re putting duplicate content out there.
If you are not changing your domain name and your directory structure is staying the same, you can skip this step.
More than likely, you are changing your directory structure or your domain name or both. Regardless of which, make sure you work with your development team to ensure that each page on your old site is 301 redirected to the most relevant page on your new site.
This ensures that the most page authority is transferred to the new site as possible. Additionally, it helps Google understand that this about page for your old brand is now this about page for your new brand.
Some SEO specialists will tell you to keep all the data in the same analytics account. Here at thunder::tech, we recommend creating a new instance.
Why? Because more than likely, you’re going to have a lot of URL changes on your new website. A lot of people want the historical data, but it ends up being confusing when you actually need to look back.
When you keep the two instances separate, you’re able to still view that historical data and you’re able to start fresh in terms of goals, conversions and events. A lot of times, these elements need an audit anyway.
New website, new content. You might include indications on your about page indicating why you decided to rebrand your company or you might have new services/products you’re adding to your repertoire. Either way, new content is great and will definitely help make your new brand launch stronger, but make sure to include indications to your customer base that they’ve found the right place.
Here are a couple of ways of doing that:
Have listings on Yelp, YP, Google, etc.? Make sure to update your business’s name and, again, indicate that your brand has changed. These can only help indicate to search engines that your change is legitimate and point people to the right place when searching for your previous brand name or website.
After you’ve put all the technical aspects into place, now comes the really fun stuff, promotion! Talk about the shift in your brand in a fun, exciting way on social media. Get your users/customers amped up about the change. This business is your baby so take care of it, nurture it and, most importantly, be proud!
After you’ve done all the shouting from all the rooftops, go visit your analytics. What happened? What worked or is working? What didn’t or isn’t? Make adjustments, reach out to media contacts to get some press coverage or try some things that you may not have tried before. You have a new brand, backed by your old brand that people knew and trusted, the world is your oyster.
Okay, all clichés aside. If you follow these steps above, your business should not take a hit from search engines. Keep in mind, you may seem some dips in the short-term. These are common, don’t panic. Continue with the steps as planned and be tenacious. If you do it right, your decision to rebrand will make your business stronger than ever before.
Reach out to learn more about how thunder::tech can help your business not only succeed, but accelerate.