: 31st Jan 2022 : Lovetto Nazareth
Maintaining a Website’s SEO During Rebranding
Table of Content
- Why is the rebranding of a website difficult?
- What are the critical questions to ask before rebranding your website?
- What is branded traffic?
- How to find the sources of branded traffic?
- What is the importance of branded traffic during website rebranding?
- How to safeguard branded traffic during a website rebrand?
- Can structural changes of a website impact its organic traffic?
Rebranding a website can be an exciting process for any website owner, but it also comes with a number of hazards to the organic visibility and general performance of the website.
A rebrand can range from a simple domain change to a total redesign of the website and website architecture, all of which necessitate thorough research and a logical website migration strategy to keep the traffic flowing.
Failure to do adequate research and planning can result in disastrous consequences when it comes to search engine optimization of the website, which will have a direct impact on the commercial revenue generated by the website following a digital rebrand.
However, thorough SEO consideration and a well-executed website rebranding strategy can result in minimal traffic loss and significant organic growth as well.
How to start your website rebranding project?
It's critical to know what will change on the website and what will stay the same at the outset of any rebranding effort. This data will enable you to assess the risks connected with the modifications and adopt strategies to mitigate the negative consequences.
Before you start the rebranding process, SEO agencies in Dubai and around the world suggest asking yourself the following questions, as each will have an impact on the results:
- Is the brand name going to change?
- Is the domain name going to change?
- Will there be any changes to the URL website architecture?
- What modifications are being made to the content on the website?
- Is there any information about services that are being modified, removed, or added?
We can break down organic traffic into two distinct areas:
- Branded organic traffic
- Non-branded organic traffic
When searchers type a query into a search engine that includes your brand name, this is referred to as branded organic traffic. A branded search for Prism Digital, for example, would be ‘Prism Digital.’
Organic branded traffic is valuable to any business since the customer usually knows what they want and is more likely to buy a product or service if they already trust the brand. It also speaks about the brand’s visibility and awareness so it’s always better to get branded traffic to the website.
Finding Branded traffic sources
Google Search Console (GSC) and Bing Webmaster Tools are wonderful places to start when looking at the current organic branded traffic your website receives (BWMT).
To filter search queries for your brand in GSC, take these steps:
Search results > select the date range > ‘+ New’ > Query > Enter a query containing your brand name.
Because BWMT does not have a filter like GSC, you must export all search queries to an Excel document and then filter the results to analyze them better.
You may utilize the data from these sources to figure out what the most popular branded inquiries are.
Importance of branded traffic during a rebrand
If your firm isn't changing its name, retaining organic brand traffic is critical since it will continue to be beneficial to your business and you wouldn’t want to lose it.
With site architectural or product (service) changes to the website, it's also likely that your non-brand traffic will suffer. As a result, retaining brand traffic will mitigate the total damage.
However, maintaining branded traffic is less important if the business name is changing as part of the rebrand, and more effort should be put into targeting the new name. It would be beneficial if you additionally thought about assisting customers and search engines in recognizing the business shift.
Safeguarding branded traffic during a website rebrand
Here are a few ways to try and not lose your branded traffic during a rebrand.
Tracking / Monitoring QueriesUsing multiple tools, compile a list of all the traffic-driving branded searches you discover and rank them according to their value to the website (traffic).
From here, you should track the performance of these searches before, during, and after the branding to see if there are any changes in clicks, impressions, or ranks for specific branded queries.
Landing PagesYou may go through each of the branded search queries and determine the primary landing pages that drive traffic using the list of branded queries you've gathered.
This may be done by searching for a certain query in GSC and BWMT, then selecting the "pages" option to check which landing pages rank for the specific queries.
The top pages driving branded traffic will most likely be the homepage or a basic business page (such as about us or contact us). In other circumstances, though, search engines may prioritize a specific service page as well.
On-page content and other elementsAfter you've discovered the landing pages that drive branded traffic, examine them to see what elements are responsible for the brand traffic and determine what’s converting and what’s not.
The page meta title, the H1 tag, and the on-page text are notable examples of these elements. To keep branded traffic to the website intact, it would be beneficial if you tried to preserve or even increase these components that are working well by targeting the same queries throughout the rebrand.
Preserving non-branded traffic to the websiteYou can utilize the same research process to protect organic non-branded traffic as you did for brand traffic. Reviewing which non-brand keywords have driven traffic.
If it is decided to remove particular services or products from the website, every effort should be taken to make the transition as smooth as possible. This can be accomplished by writing supporting articles that explain why particular services have been discontinued. Alternatively, the service could be referenced in a related page's content.
You might also make sure that redirects go to the most appropriate pages. While essential terms can still be targeted, search engines will recognize that the service is no longer available.
Significance of Website’s architecture changes
When designing a website architecture, keep in mind that it has a direct impact on both search engines and customers. Search engines crawl the website and understand the company's services by looking at the architecture and internal links.
If the website's architecture or internal links changed, search engines would re-evaluate it and have a direct impact on its ranks. Should a key service page, for example, be removed from the main navigation, search engines will devalue the page, resulting in lower rankings and less traffic.
As a result, modifications to architecture and internal connectivity should only be performed when absolutely essential during a rebrand. You can try to reduce traffic loss by limiting the number of changes needed, but occasionally a major architectural change is required for a website to run well.
When it comes to maintaining organic traffic throughout a website architecture change, URL redirects are crucial. Redirects enable link equity, which is the movement of link value from one page to another. If redirects are not properly implemented, the website's rankings will suffer, and organic traffic may suffer as a result.
With architecture modifications, a small drop in traffic is usual while search engines begin to crawl and process the new structure. When Google detects a migration that affects the website's structure, it usually gives itself a "grace time" to re-discover all URLs.
I’ve tried to simplify it as much as possible. However, it is indeed not a walk in the park and there are a lot of moving parts that need to be kept in check. If you’re a website owner and you want to rebrand it without losing your existing visibility and traffic, reach out to Prism Digital, the best SEO agency in Dubai, and our expert web developers and SEO managers will help you make this transition as smooth as possible.