Changing the name of something as big as your company or product can seem intimidating, however, SEO friendly rebranding is not that scary!
You don't have to lose your organic search rankings or lose traffic. Rebranding can actually be a good thing as it allows you to reach for new brand related terms and queries you may not already be ranking for. It allows you to not lose existing brand rankings but create new ones and you get to grow your organic search performance.
How to SEO Friendly Rebrand
Company Name Rebrand
Creating a new name for your company will be the most drastic and hardest change. You have multiple pages to take into consideration and it is also where most of your popularity will derive from.
If you rebrand your company's name, you have to move to a new domain and usually create a new website that better represents it. For this you will have to create a 301-redirect of every old domain to their new destination, taking into consideration their previous relevance towards the old brand and website that was part of the old domain name – that will be different now.
You will then have to create a page designated as the ‘bridge' of the old brand name. This is how you will continue to rank for the old domain while still staying relevant to your rebranding. Also, it is where you can explain the rebranding details and provide a link to your new domain's home page.
For your new homepage, link it back to your bridge page so that they are interlinked. You should also make sure that your old domain's homepage redirects to your new one.
For a little while after your company name rebrand, include a text in all of your new domain's pages that explains the rebranding.
Product Name Rebrand
Changing the name of a product is not a drastic move, it can actually be beneficial. There a couple of ways you can get around this depending on your product name's authority and backlink quality. Lucky for you, I have mapped out the three variations of product name rebranding and how to do them!
Product Name Rebrand With no Name Overlay
When the new name of your product doesn't include any component of your old product name, you can use the old product's page as a bridge page for the new one. Here, you explain the rebrand and provide a link to the new page.
The new page should also have a small text explaining the rebrand and provide a link to the bridge page (aka the old product name page).
In basic terms, you want your new product page and the old one-turned bridge page to be interlinked so that no matter what, site visitors will be aware of the change and be able to get all of the information.
Product Name Rebrand With a Low Name Overlay
When you create a new name for your product that includes a portion of the old name you need to 301-redirect the old product page to the new one. This way you use the popularity of the old page to bring awareness to the new page. You also have to change your internal links to go to the new page.
The new page should include a small text explaining the rebrand , with a link to the bridge page (old page). It is very similar to changing your company's name, however, everything is in the same website.
Product Name Rebrand With a High Name Overlay
When the new name of your product includes the whole of the old name, this allows for more options in how you create an SEO friendly rebranding strategy.
Option 1: Keep The Old URL
Keeping your product page's original URL is best suited for well-established products with more external links because changing the URL will damage it.
By keeping your product page's old URL you target both the old and new product name. This also keeps your old branded queries rankings and popularity.
All you have to do is include the new name in the original product page with a short explanation of the change. The importance here is that you are not putting the new name in the URL, only in the page text. If you change your URL you are creating a new and separate page which defeats the purpose of keeping the same URL.
With the option of keeping your old URL you don't have to change any internal links which is by far one of the biggest SEO benefits.
Option 2: Move to a New URL
Moving your newly named product to a new URL is most beneficial for products that are not as well known and have a small amount of links. This way, adding the new name and URL will not hinder your already existing popularity since it is so low.
To do so, you need a 301-redirect from the old page to the new one. This option is beneficial because you can put your new name in the URL.
The downside is that you have to update your internal links so that they lead to the new page, however, I will show just how easy it is to master, so keep reading!
You will also have to create more content that is more relevant to the new product name, this way you can build the keyword for it and also build more links.
How to Update Old Mentions and Links
When changing a URL page you are also losing all of the backlinks and mentions you have built in the past. Although it sounds terrible, it might be beneficial as it forces you to filter through your list of links and prioritize the most relevant and optimized.
- Type: Follow
- Status: Active
- Anchor text: “Old product name”
You also want to go by the authority of the links because the very high and very low authority links are hard to work with or have no impact on your ranking, respectively. You can see what level of authority to aim for by looking at competitors links.
Next, you will need to create a contact list by going through the condensed list of publications and deciding which people to contact. A great tactic is to connect with clients, partners, affiliates, journalists, and influencers you have worked with before. They are more likely to do you a favor. If you think about it, the people who you are more likely to collaborate with or vice versa are your best bet.
The goal here is to create a list of people who are most likely to respond positively to updating their existing publications to include your new product name and URL.
Once you know who you are contacting, create your email. The best way to get around this is by creating sample emails to see which one is the most successful.
If you have a long list, you can create an email template to easily send your message. I recommend you have a good CRM system like Chicken Swoop because you can easily save your contact list and the template of your email.
Lastly, Keep a lookout for new link building opportunities. When sending your emails out for your new URL, keep an eye out for the more enthusiastic responses. Chances are they will be more welcoming to the idea of creating more publications.
I hope I have helped you dissolve your worries about rebranding a product or company name. In the end, if you do it right, you won't damage your search ranking, popularity, or overall success.
While changing so many aspects of your website, remember to stay true to the old brand (products, services, and non-branded queries) but also work your way closer to your new vision. By doing so, loyal customers will not be warded off but encourage the change.