As you consider a rebrand of your association, you might worry it could lead to SEO suicide. You might think that your rebrand will negate all of the progress, in terms of site traffic, that you have made prior to the new brand launch. But it doesn’t have to. While a fluctuation in your SEO rankings will happen—it’s perfectly normal and can be overcome. Here are a few steps we consider necessary to keep your SEO in check after a rebrand and a client example of how it can work:
Keep Your Domain Name
Unless your association name is changing, keep your existing domain name if at all possible. A change in your domain name will require additional steps for your SEO recovery roadmap. You’ll also increase the time it takes to recover and the required marketing efforts to build back traffic. Plus, a domain change will lead to the largest loss you’ll experience in search traffic—almost immediately..
However, if a domain change is a must, there are ways to mitigate its impact.
When the American Society of Bariatric Physicians renamed and rebranded their organization the Obesity Medicine Association (OMA), they had to change their domain name from asbp.org to obesitymedicine.org. The change initially led to a rather significant loss in overall site traffic, but DJG had a plan to help OMA avoid long-term issues. We created more than 150 redirects from all the previous site pages (as well as from site assets such as images, PDF’s, documents. etc.) to their corresponding pages on obesitymedicine.org. Our approach included key pages such as the “About Us” and “Contact Us” pages alongside membership-focused pages such as “Join” and “Events.” While it took roughly two to three months to see a rise in traffic again, without the redirect plan, the recovery of OMA’s search traffic would have taken much longer.
Purchase Your Domain Name for as Far Into the Future as Possible
When you purchase a domain, it’s important to buy the domain for the maximum amount of time available through your registrar; typically domain registrars offer a three-year or a seven-year plan. While a long-term purchase can seem costly, the investment in a multi-year domain name acquisition can deliver unique benefits for your SEO. Studies have shown that it can have a modest, positive affect on your overall domain authority—which can be impacted by a rebrand. A long-term purchase can also have a slight positive affect on your overall rankings. A key part of OMA’s domain strategy was their multi-year domain purchase, which has helped move their domain authority upwards over time.
Promote Your New Brand Anywhere You Can
If you change your brand without much thought to a social media strategy, you’re going to have search issues. We recommend that a brand roll-out includes the following:
- Update all of your social media sites.
Your social media presence plays heavily into your overall SEO effectiveness. As the search engines crawl your new website, they begin building and adjusting your (hopefully) existing network of social channels by identifying key differences. By having updated social media channels, the search engines will notice these changes that are made and mark an update for the next indexing.This article offers additional details on updating your social media sites after a rebrand. There are some great tips about how to handle Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.
- Set authorship in your content network
More specifically related to authored content within your network is the concept of updating your authorship. If a website URL changes in a rebrand, any content that you have posted on your site, or contributed to a third-party site under your previous brand will need new links to your new brand. These new links are usually set as a credit to the author. After a rebrand you want to make sure visitors are going to the new site instead of the previous site, so adjusting your authorship links are an easy way to redirect people. This will require you to reach out to your various publishers and asking them to adjust accordingly.
- Activate the rest of your marketing arsenal
In addition to updating your social platforms, spread the word via press releases, email blasts, podcasts, blog posts, a paid search campaign (Google Adwards) or any other form of online advertising at your disposal. A successful rebranding campaign should allot for a wide range of digital marketing launch tools that can not only help increase traffic, but ensure that all of your hard rebrand work really pays off.
NOTE: the changes you make to your social platforms do not instantaneously impact search engine results. It may take up to two to three weeks to see their affect on SEO—so keep this timeline in mind when analyzing your SEO after a rebrand rolls out.
Below is an SEO webinar that was recently recorded on this topic. It covers a wider range of topics and areas regarding rebranding your association alongside an effective SEO strategy.
Rebranding your association doesn’t have to tank your SEO. When you create redirects from your old site to your new site, update your social profiles and adjusting your authorship links; you will find that in a short amount of time your traffic will get back to normal.
It’s important to monitor your results and to try to benchmark your traffic and overall rankings about every two weeks. If your rankings begin to slip it may mean that a redirect was missed and you can then take the appropriate action to correct the problem.
Did your association go through a recent rebrand and were your SEO results negatively affected? Or are you considering a rebrand and are concerned about the impact on SEO? Contact us today and we can help you make SEO rebound quicker after a rebrand.