If you’re going through the trouble of rebranding and changing your domain name, it’s smart to consider a few things before you begin.
Ease The Audience Into The Process
Use the old website to generate signals that the branding and URL will be changing soon. These signals will help ease the process for your audience and for Google.
Signals can be increased in a number of ways:
- Changes to metadata and content internally
- Changes to marketing and PR externally
It’s also important to maintain some of the old branding in the new metadata so that the change isn’t a shock to users and to ease the transition.
Keep Old URL Structures
When changing to a new domain name, changes to URL structure and where content is placed can create challenges. When possible, keep old URL structures and content structure so that you can minimize those risks.
This process also makes redirecting from the old website simpler.
But note, Google never forgets its crawl path so you need to keep the old domain’s history and links in mind. Through time, the old URL will have picked up changes and restructures of its own. This means you’ll need to compile a thorough redirect list and process to maintain the SEO juice from the old website.
Maintain Old Brand In New Content
If you change your brand to a new name, people will still search for your old brand name for years. Even after the rebrand many users and potential customers will not remember that the website has rebranded. So maintaining mention of the old brand on the new website can help mitigate losses from people not knowing or remembering about the rebrand.
This can be done on FAQ pages, support sections, in blogs, and in a redirect from the old URL to the rebranded URL.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to gather up any stragglers that may not be searching for your rebranded company but who still want your services.
Timing of Transition
Make sure the transition from one brand to the next is done through time, but isn’t too drawn out. This way users have the opportunity to get comfortable with the rebrand without having both brands watered down by having the rebrand drawn out too long.
This can be accomplished through easing into the rebranding rather than doing it overnight.
This process might be accomplished by:
- Linking news articles about the rebranding (January)
- Introducing new branding on the old homepage (February)
- Creating a more robust visual change and beginning the name change (April)
- Stating something like “X company is now Y company” in header imagery (May)
- Having the old domain simply redirect to the new domain (May)