Going Through a Rebrand or Changing Websites? This is What You Need to Do for Your SEO
If and when you decide to go through a rebranding process, you have to consider it from an offline and online perspective.
Any company might at one time decide that rebranding is necessary to either improve revenues or recover from a crisis situation. Companies that went through mergers and acquisitions also have to carefully consider their rebranding efforts.
Here you will find out what to pay attention to during the rebranding process related to your website in order to carry over the results of your previous SEO efforts.
Crawl the Web for Brand Mentions
First, find a tool to identify brand mentions online. You want to do that so you can contact the webmasters of sites where your old brand name appears. Ask them to make an update. Ensure that brand mentions are updated, as you’ll probably have to reach out to them a few times before they follow through.
Use a Development Environment
The next step is to ideally set up a development environment. This will be an isolated space where you can test your new brand website without affecting the real website. Updating the live website during rebrand can easily create a negative impression for your first visitors.
Any mistake can bring the site down, irritating users and in the process hurting your SEO efforts as well. Once your new site has been tested and it’s ready for deployment, you can safely make the switch to the new design.
Identify Your Backlinks
If you’ve had your old website online for a while, it certainly has a rich backlink profile. Ideally you want to keep all of those old backlinks on the new site. This ensures you keep your “link equity”. If you lose a backlink, it’s likely that you’ll also lose rank in search engine results.
Find a tool that can identify your website’s backlinks and point them to your new domain.
Further, check the schema mark-up. It should be transferred from the old domain to the new domain. Schema mark-up aids search engines in identifying content on your website. When your mark-up isn’t transferred you will likely lose search engine ranks.
Add 301 Redirects
After matching up your old site with your new site, you can start adding 301 redirects. This is basically a forwarding system within the HTTP protocol. When someone visits an old URL the website forwards the person to the new URL. This is best handled by a professional web development team.
You will also need to update the sitemap with the new URLs. If your sitemap has a lot of URLs, you can use a tool to test them and make the necessary changes. Once your sitemap includes all your valid URLs, upload them to the Google Search Console to let Google know about the updates.