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Branding is the lifeblood of your startup. It gives it a unique identity, setting it apart from its competitors. Still, you need to keep in mind that your brand is changing as your company grows.
So, if you’ve shifted your focus, expanded to an international market, changed your target audience, or simply teamed up with another startup with similar goals, chances are your current branding strategy won’t communicate your business’ core values anymore. Apparently, to maintain your relevancy, you will need to rebrand.
Rebranding is a complex process, entailing a wide spectrum of elements you need to address. And, if not executed properly, it may hurt your online presence on multiple levels. Precisely because of this, you need to have SEO in mind when refreshing your brand.
Don’t change your domain name.
Changing your domain name may affect your rankings. So, if you can keep the same one, it would be great. Of course, for those startups that are changing their focus entirely or participating in a merger, this would not be possible. In this case, your domain name will change parallel with your new brand name.
- Make sure you keep your original content. This is an important step, even for those brands that are moving to a new domain. To preserve your content’s authority, you need to keep its structure, fonts, visuals- anything that might confuse search engines.
- Redirect every page from your old site to a similar page of your new site. And, your URL structure determines how simple or difficult this process will be for you. Use Google Spreadsheets to make a list of your old URLs in one column and new URLs in another column so you can make this process simpler.
- Keep your old site up for a while. This is something Matt Cutts addressed back in 2005, emphasizing the importance of preserving the old site for at least 24 hours. Given the fact that it can sometimes take crawlers days to recognize your new IP address, you should consider leaving your old site up for a week or so.
Create Targeted Content
Content creation is the backbone of your rebranding strategy. It helps you create an engaging story about your brand, engage people with it, and give it a unique tone and voice. This is a great opportunity to humanize your brand, build firmer customer relationships and above all, position yourself as a leader in your niche. Of course, to do so you need to do a detailed target audience segmentation that will help you see what your readers expect from you.
Analyze your blog’s performance, set up customer surveys, listen to them on social media or even hire a Hong Kong SEO company to do the hard work for you. Once you know what your readers expect from you, you will be able to produce highly-personalized and consistent content that reflects your brand’s personality.
Update your contact information.
Accurate and up-to-date contact information is essential for all businesses, especially local ones. Namely, Google bots are constantly analyzing your contact information to determine your rankings. Moreover, it brings a sense of consistency and trustworthiness to your brand. Precisely because of this, your NAP (name, address, phone number) on your social networks, business directories, and other platforms should match your website’s.
When changing your brand name, you should refurbish your business social profiles, as well. However, updating your social media IDs varies depending on different networks. Here is what you should keep in mind:
- Facebook lets you change your page name and URL just once. So, when updating it, first make sure that this is the right decision.
- Twitter deactivates those IDs that haven’t been used for a certain period of time. But, they do so really slowly. So, if you notice that your desired ID is already taken by a person or a company that doesn’t use it, you could contact them and see whether they’re willing to give it to you.
- As for rebranding, LinkedIn is one of the simplest sites. Still, if someone is already using your company’s name, you will have to change your brand name on this social network.
It goes without saying that social networks are your most valuable assets when it comes to building a solid brand image and driving quality website traffic. Therefore, build a solid social media marketing strategy and use these channels wisely to spread the word about your new brand. For example, you could share press releases, guest posts, videos or even organize a giveaway to boost brand awareness.
Even though it lost its relevancy, authorship is still a part of Google’s ranking algorithm and that’s why it needs to be updated. You need to contact your contributors and ask them whether they would like to change your website domain in their contributor links. If there are any bloggers that don’t write for your site anymore, you should contact them as well and ask them to make these changes, too.
Mobile friendliness if your priority.
I’m sure you’ve been reading a lot about Google’s mobile-first indexing. Simply put, when indexing your site, Google is choosing your site’s mobile version as their starting point. So, it is your site’s responsiveness that determines how well you will rank.
This is something you should definitely keep in mind when refreshing your site. To make the most out of your site, you should make it responsive. Here is what it needs to include:
- Clear, easy-to-tap CTAs
- User-friendly and logical navigation
- Bold and simple typography
- Decluttered spaces, with lots of white space
- Flexible, easily loadable visuals
Keep monitoring your performance.
When refreshing your brand, chances are you will miss something important. This is why you need to keep track of your traffic, conversions, and rankings in order to identify any problems and irregularities as soon as possible. Only this way will you be able to constantly improve your SEO efforts and, at the same time, build a solid and recognizable brand for your startup.
What steps did you take to ensure your rebranding strategy doesn’t hurt your SEO efforts?