Moving forward in the digital world often means re-branding and re-designing your website. Although it is easy to obtain a new domain name and create a new website, your ranking on search engine would disappear using this method and you would virtually be starting from scratch. This is why it is crucial for any business wishing to re-design or re-brand to do so with careful consideration of SEO.
Why is SEO important to consider when re-branding?
What many businesses do not know is how even a small loss of traffic and rank can hurt a brand. Over 50 percent of traffic goes to a top result on Google, followed by 15 percent for the second result. The third result sees around nine percent, with the fourth bringing in six percent. By the fifth result, traffic is down to four percent. Any drop-off at all can hurt a company’s ranking and reputation, and of course all companies want to be on the top of Google.
How to Prepare
Strategic planning is required before re-branding in order to avoid common mistakes. Below are some of the tried and true recommendations from experts in the web development and SEO community on how to re-design while maintaining your rankings.
• Running an audit of the site will reveal problems with links and redirects. Tools such as OpenSite Explorer and Google Webmaster tools can be used to create a sitemap for this process. The most important tip that I can offer is to keep your sub-page permalink structure the same if at all possible. In lamens terms, if your about us page uses the following link structure for example http://www.digitechwebdesignaustin.com/about-us/ make sure that the new about us page uses the exact same link structure. If you were to change to /about/ for example, any search engine rankings or Google page rank you had for the /about-us/ page would be completely lost. If you can keep this link structure the same across all your sub-pages you will be in good shape.
• Having a strategy for content is vital in light of the recent Google Panda and Hummingbird updates. Sites with low-quality content take harsher penalties. We recommend at least one article on your blog or latest news section per week that is unique and relevant. When writing content, always remember “Is this article something I would want to read.” Here is a little gold mine nugget for our blog readers, the easiest way to have high quality content created by US Based writers is to use a service called Text Broker, you can have high quality articles with revisions written for $10 an article. You are welcome 🙂
• Using 301 redirects will help visitors and users find the new site without interruption. This will also avert the traffic drop that is seen with a re-brand in case you miss some of the sub pages while trying to keep the same permalink structure. If you are using WordPress for your new website, we recommend using a plugin called Link Juice Keeper.
• Link building with the new domain will help offset and potential hit’s your site could take when Google re-crawls the new structure and content after your new site is launched. Positive content-based link building across reputable sites will help boost your authority with Google and increase your rankings over time.
Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools can monitor site metrics after launch to test the effectiveness of your new website, site speed and if there are broken links. The business should also communicate with other companies about updating links to the new site if your permalinks have changed, as a fresh link has more juice than a redirect. Once the new site is fully operational and optimized, it can be promoted through press releases, email, social media and other events. Any negative feedback about the new site should taken seriously and rectified.
Following these guidelines will help you minimize any potential loss of SEO rankings during a re-design! Looking to re-brand your website? Contact Us to find out about our special re-brand packages.