Brands often change their design. It’s a similar story with minor adjustments to corporate websites. Sometimes a thorough overhaul is essential – but then we talk about a relaunch. However, if the entire branding changes significantly in addition to the logo, the corporate colours, or the tonality, then this is referred to as rebranding with a relaunch. And this is a very interesting challenge for SEO measures.
Rebranding: When does it make sense?
As soon as products, industries and target groups change strikingly, a rebranding of the brand and the brand presence can make sense. The rebranding process changes how the newly defined brand is perceived by the public and, more importantly, by the group of people who are to become customers.
Typical occasions for rebranding include:
- Company goals are not met, individual product lines break significantly from the trend,
- Positioning of the company is blurred,
- Employees and target groups miss identification possibilities with the brand,
- Company orientation and structure change,
- Problems with trademark law make
- rebranding necessary,
Corporate design and brand image no longer reflect the spirit of the times.
Rebranding is a comprehensive process that affects the entire company. Search engine optimization is an important part of it so that after rebranding, traffic to existing, restructured company websites does not collapse.
Because: part of the rebranding is usually also a new domain. So before a change of the brand can take place, there is a lot to consider from an SEO point of view!
Guide: Relaunch with rebranding
What do you have to consider when relaunching existing company websites with rebranding? Our guide summarizes the important steps.
One more note: SEO should be considered in all planning steps of the rebranding. It is comparatively rare for a brand to proactively announce the change. Iconic campaigns such as “Raider now becomes Twix” tend to be the exception. Since rebranding usually presents customers and users with a fait accompli, prudent redirection and clever keyword management are indispensable to avoid traffic losses.
SEO analysis first!
Before the actual launch, a thorough analysis of all assets is required. It has proven to be worthwhile to pay attention to several points:
1. page analysis, list high and low performers. In general, meet the search intent of users!
2. backlink analysis, exclude bad backlinks directly via disavow tool (Google)
3. keyword analysis, identify branded keywords
Google Search Console, Google Analytics and similar tools are useful for general analysis. It is best to note the ULR of each individual page in a classic Excel sheet. You will see why in the next step: High-quality, well-ranking content should remain accessible. Even after rebranding with a domain change.
Set up 301 redirects
If the page structure doesn’t change, a general 301 redirect from the old domain to the new one is a good solution. Once set up, all search queries or direct entries will be redirected. For e-commerce projects, also consider store specifics when it comes to displaying categories or individual products. Keyword sets are usually unaffected, and there should be little ranking change.
Does the rebranding process also change the structure of the website? Then you need the specific individual URLs from the previous step. Previously well-ranking content and content with essential content should be redirected individually to the new target pages.
Adopt the keyword structure in the URLs as much as possible to maintain the ranking.
For poorly ranking pages and those that are merged or removed entirely in the restructuring process, you should:
- create redirects to more appropriate content for merged or significantly changed content
- provide an appropriate 404 page, which gives hints about the changed web content and help on where the content could be found now
- request Google to delete the removed URLs from the index
The customized 404 error page is also the cleverer solution to catch users on the web instead of simply redirecting them to the home page in a regular way.
Backlinks with branded keywords in the anchor text
If your 301 redirects are set correctly, internet users will automatically arrive at your new brand’s website. So, from a technical point of view, everything is flawless. However, for backlinks with branded keywords of your old brand in the anchor text, manual diligence is required. After all, if visitors to your homepage come across a different brand with the new branding than the one in the anchor text of the linking website, some question marks may arise among users.
To exchange backlinks with branded keywords, you should proceed as follows: First, you should personally contact the site owners on whose pages the backlink was placed and inform them about your rebranding process. In the next step, have the new branded keywords deposited, possibly with a short note about the name change?
This achieves two things in terms of SEO: firstly, crawlers receive the information that the branding, including domain and brand name, has changed. Secondly, users will also become aware of this in a variety of places.
Trick 17: Rebranding landing page
Hardly anything is more annoying for users than landing unexpectedly at a supposedly wrong company. If you type “A” into your browser and land on “B”, you don’t automatically think of rebranding – but perhaps more of phishing.
To get around this during the migration phase,
- Set up a temporary landing page.
- Explain the rebranding in short but effective words.
- Use the old as well as the new name of the company.
Link to this landing page from the home page; the classic “About” page is also suitable as a link partner. In addition to raising awareness among your website visitors, crawlers will also get additional clues that “A” and “B” are the same, trustworthy company.
Update Search Console
Google offers you to indicate the movement of a company from domain A to domain B in Search Console. To do this, both domains must be created as properties and verified. Then, in the tools, select the option to change the address.
Additionally, all URLs deleted in the rebranding process should be removed from the index to minimize the number of 404 errors among search results.
Promotion, promotion, promotion
After the relaunch, when all search engine optimization measures have started, it’s time for Advertising! In the social networks, classically by mailing to customer lists or by more traditional advertising measures. In line with the target group and the new brand image, it should be pointed out that the brand will have a different name in the future and can also be found under a new domain.
Remember to also update all information in social networks, in business directories, etc. In each case, set the link to the new domain; under certain circumstances, the landing page with references to the rebranding can also be used as a transitional measure.
To be able to react quickly to any ranking losses, you should now monitor traffic and website KPIs closely. And keep it up for the next weeks to months.
Use the usual SEO tools and the Google Search Console for this. Any performance slumps will then be detected – and corrected – much more quickly!
Monitoring will also make you aware of any points from the relaunch checklist that have been overlooked.
Rebranding and relaunch are different things
In a simple relaunch, the design, colours, and often various functionalities of the website are changed. The brand core including logo, language and company name remains unaffected. For SEO, the URLs mustn’t usually change. If you will: The foundation remains, only the paint job changes. Helpful step-by-step templates guide you through all stages of the relaunch.
With a rebranding and relaunch, on the other hand, you tear down the entire building – and rebuild it. The accompanying work is correspondingly more comprehensive. This includes search engine optimization. For a successful rebranding process, all company departments work together, especially marketing, PR, customer service/social media support and search engine optimization.
Short-term traffic losses are usually to be expected during the process, but complete collapses can be avoided with our guide. Due to the ongoing search engine optimization in the rebranding support, there are often even traffic gains afterwards.
Is rebranding what your company needs right now to realize its full market potential? Are there compelling reasons to rebrand? Then it makes sense to rely on strong partners like SEOBI. We have the relevant experience for comprehensive relaunch and rebranding processes and accompany you every step of the way. From planning and analysis to final implementation, we are the search engine optimisers who cover the full process.