Business or Website rebranding is often seen as a necessary evolution to stay relevant, attract new customers, or redefine a company’s identity. Whether prompted by a merger, shifts in market trends, or a desire to change public perception, rebranding can be a potent tool for companies.
However, amid the excitement of rebranding, the potential pitfalls, particularly in terms of marketing and SEO, should not be overlooked. Rebranding has the power to negatively impact website traffic, brand-related searches, and domain authority.
Firstly let’s look at the various dimensions of rebranding and its implications for SEO. Then suggest some strategies to minimise the adverse effects and maintain or improve your website’s visibility and authority.
Why Do Companies Rebrand?
Rebranding can be a lengthy process that involves changing various aspects of your business identity, ranging from your company name, website, logo, and tagline to the products and services you offer. Companies embark on a rebranding journey for a myriad of reasons, and understanding these motivations is crucial for comprehending the potential pitfalls.
Staying Relevant in a Changing Market
One of the most common reasons for rebranding is to stay relevant in a constantly evolving market. Consumer preferences, technology, and trends can change rapidly, leaving companies that fail to adapt behind. Rebranding enables a company to re-invent itself and reshape its image, product offerings, and messaging to align with the current market landscape.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Mergers and acquisitions often necessitate rebranding. When two companies come together, they may choose to retain the most dominant brand or may decide to adopt a new identity that represents the combined entity’s values and goals. This rebranding process can help in achieving a smooth transition and ensuring that both customers and employees recognise the newly merged brand.
Changing Public Perception
Rebranding can also be a strategic move to alter the public’s perception of a company. Companies facing image problems, scandals, or negative associations may choose to rebrand to distance themselves from the past and rebuild trust with their audience.
When a business diversifies or expands into new markets or product categories, rebranding can be a way to communicate these changes to customers. A broader scope of products or services might require a new brand identity that accurately represents the evolving business. Sometimes language plays a part in a brand name too for international firms, as names that work locally may not always work so well internationally.
Some companies simply change their name or branding as a vanity exercise, there may seem to be no logic or financial return on investment for the rebrand, but they simply want to go ahead and do it anyway! An example of this could be said to include Twitter’s rebrand to X. But then if you are the richest guy on the planet, I guess you can do whatever you want!
One of the biggest marketing pitfalls of rebranding is that it can confuse your existing customers. If you change your logo, name, or overall messaging too drastically, your customers may not be able to recognise your brand anymore. This can lead to lost sales and a decrease in brand loyalty.
Another pitfall is that rebranding can be expensive. You’ll need to create new marketing materials, update your website, and launch a campaign to introduce your new brand to the world. This can be a significant investment, especially for small businesses.
Finally, rebranding can take time. It takes time for customers to get used to your new brand and for search engines to update their indexes. This means that you may see a dip in traffic and sales in the short term.
SEO Implications of Rebranding
Rebranding can be a risky endeavour when it comes to SEO. Many businesses invest significant time and resources into building their online presence, and a hasty or poorly executed rebranding process can disrupt that progress.
Here are some of the most common SEO-related challenges that can arise during rebranding:
Loss of Organic Traffic
One of the most immediate SEO concerns during rebranding is the potential loss of organic traffic. When a company changes its name, domain, or website structure, it will almost always result in a drop in search engine rankings and traffic vs the original branded website. This loss can be detrimental if not managed effectively, as organic traffic is often a substantial source of revenue for businesses.
Rebranding can significantly affect how users search for your brand. If you’ve built a strong brand presence under your old name, transitioning to a new one can confuse consumers and disrupt the search patterns they’ve established. This can lead to a decline in brand-related searches, which can be problematic, especially if your business relies on branded keywords for a substantial portion of its traffic.
Domain Authority Impact
Domain Authority is a search engine ranking score, represented as a number up to 100, created by Moz that gives a measure of how successful a site is when it comes to search engine results. It is a critical metric in SEO and can be adversely affected by rebranding. When you change your domain, it’s the same as starting from scratch in terms of building authority with search engines. This means that your new domain will likely have a lower domain authority, which can take time to rebuild.
Content and Page Redirection
For a successful rebranding from an SEO perspective, it’s essential to execute a meticulous content and page redirection strategy. Failing to redirect old URLs to their corresponding new ones can lead to a loss of valuable backlinks, a drop in rankings, and a frustrating user experience.
Strategies to Mitigate SEO Pitfalls
Rebranding and maintaining your SEO performance can be achieved with careful planning and a focus on minimising disruption. Here are some strategies to navigate the SEO challenges associated with rebranding:
Comprehensive SEO Audit of existing website
Before initiating the rebranding process, perform a comprehensive SEO audit. This audit should include a thorough analysis of your current website’s structure, content, backlinks, and keyword performance. Identifying your strengths and weaknesses will help you make informed decisions about what to retain and what to change during the rebranding process.
Choose the Right Domain Strategy
If a website domain change is part of your rebranding, select your new domain wisely. Opt for a domain that closely aligns with your new brand identity and is easy to remember. Consider using 301 (permanent) redirects to transfer the authority from your old domain to the new one.
Complete Content and Page Redirection Plan
As mentioned earlier, content and page redirection is crucial. Create content on the new website and a clear redirection plan that maps every single old URL to its new website counterparts. Use 301 redirects to ensure both users and search engines seamlessly transition to the new website. Properly redirecting old pages to their new equivalents will help preserve your rankings and organic traffic, as well as help build the domain authority of the new site faster.
Maintain Consistent Branding Signals Across Local Citations
Consistency is key in SEO. Ensure that all branding signals are updated to reflect your new brand identity, across all online citations. This includes your Google My Business listing, social media profiles, and any other online directory or platform where your business is listed. Consistency in your branding signals will help maintain your local SEO presence.
Monitor and Adapt
Rebranding is an ongoing process, and it’s essential to continually monitor and adapt your SEO strategies. Keep a close eye on your website’s performance, keyword rankings, and organic traffic. Adjust your strategies as needed to address any issues that may arise during the transition.
Communicate with Your Audience
Throughout the rebranding process, communicate with your audience. Let them know about the changes, the reasons behind the rebrand, and how it benefits them. Transparency, clear communication and suitable advertising can help maintain trust and keep your loyal customers engaged.
Since your domain authority is likely to take a hit during the rebranding, focus on rebuilding backlinks to your new domain. Outreach to websites that previously linked to your old site and request that they update their links to ultimately minimise the amount of 301 redirect hits. Additionally, work on new link-building strategies to regain authority in your niche.
Planning a Rebrand?
Rebranding can be a great way to refresh your brand’s image and attract new customers. However, it’s important to be aware of the potential pitfalls, especially when it comes to marketing and SEO.
Wiser IT has been involved in company re-branding exercises and knows what needs to be done to maintain your business website SEO both during and after a rebrand, we perform SEO tasks and audits for companies across the UK. We also create, manage and maintain PPC ads for several B2B and B2C businesses, and if you need a helping hand with this just give us a call.
Looking for an SEO or PPC consultant to help your business rebrand? Call Wiser IT today on 07941 783434 or fill in the contact form
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