Protect Google Rankings and Traffic with These 5 Tips
There are several factors to consider while executing a rebranding strategy. Some websites see a massive drop in their Google SEO rankings and traffic after rebranding and changing URLs. Most of the time, businesses wonder why rebranding affects all pages, even though they did not change the content and the redirects. One may reduce such issues if they build a solid step-by-step Google SEO strategy for the rebranding process.
Google sees an updated domain or URL as a new website or page. This is one of the most common problems in site migrations. To ensure that migration goes well, one must take several crucial measures. SEOs can avoid losing rankings and save a lot of money by doing things right from the very beginning.
Below are the top five tips when migrating a website:
1. Do the prework.
The first step in a site migration is to do a lot of preparation. The simplest approach to accomplish this is by creating a quality website migration checklist. In general, the process can be divided into the following major phases: pre-, launch, and post-migration.
Some important things to do during pre-migration include the following:
- Identify key traffic pages
- Review the staging setup
- Make an inventory of content
- Make a list of redirects
- Run benchmarks for technical SEO
- Back up the website and database
- Review analytics configuration
After that, it’s necessary to conduct a number of tests on the staging environment. All redirects should also be functioning properly. Redirect chains, broken redirects, and loops are some crucial blunders to avoid. In an ideal world, every 301 redirect should have no more than one hop.
To recap, SEOs and business owners get a brand-new page after migration. All the pre-existing page values should be transferred to this new page. To accomplish this, Google SEO experts must notify Google that this new URL is the old page’s new version.
2. Do not execute all changes at once.
The most common blunder that many organisations make is not due to a technical problem but through a mistake in the process: performing all changes at once. This might cause things to get complicated and inefficient, especially for larger websites. Therefore, one should divide their domain change and rebrand process into multiple steps.
For example, one can make initial site design adjustments without touching their web hosting, content, or other components. Afterwards, they can take the time to evaluate any changes. If everything appears to be in order, they may proceed with additional modifications.
It is crucial to maintain a backup of the older website in case of serious site issues during all this. By doing so, one can always return to an earlier version if necessary.
When restoring the old site using the backup, one should determine the issues affecting rankings and traffic. Then, they can start over by developing a better strategy and making changes one at a time. It is important to keep track of any changes and allow enough time to examine the outcomes.
3. Get redirects in order.
When migrating to a new website, one should always properly set up all their redirects. One might be sure that all redirects were done correctly, but it never hurts to double-check.
All pages need 301 redirects, especially those containing high-quality backlinks and receiving traffic from social media. It’s also critical to clean up sitemaps and redirect all canonical links from the old URL to the new one so that Google can crawl through them.
Then, one can message connections who have their backlinks and request to change old links for the new ones. Customers should also be informed about the change through email, and this can help build excitement for the new brand.
4. Continue optimising and monitoring for traffic changes.
Changing the URL and brand name can affect pages because the authority is attached to each domain. Therefore, even if all the redirects are done right, the website can still lose traffic due to the lost domain authority.
Below are some of the things one can do in such cases:
- Wait for several months to see the real impact before changing anything
- Optimise content for pages with the highest Google SEO rankings every month
- Avoid linking to any pages with old URLs
- Use Screaming Frog to crawl the website and see if there are technical issues to be fixed
- Do link building campaigns or PR activities for the changed name
- Constantly monitor the changes in traffic for each significant URL
- For well-known businesses, reaching out to Google for help can be a good idea
5. Takeaways and working backwards from after the rebrand.
At this point, it might be too late to go back. However, the tips given above offer a good framework to work through; if any of the above stages get overlooked, that’s a good place to start.
Here are some of the things one should double-check to avoid missing anything:
- Check for broken redirects, chains of redirects, or loops in the redirection list.
- Re-evaluate any website design and content modifications that were made at the same time. Examine high-value, high-traffic pages to see if anything has changed. Find out the cause of any changes and work to regain traffic lost due to those changes.
- To discover whether or not any major concerns negatively impact rankings, one can perform a technical SEO audit.
- Examine your link building and content tactics as there may be other SEO processes that have been put on hold to focus on the rebrand. If so, one must be quick to re-implement these as fast as possible.
Position1SEO Helps You with Site Migrations
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We create personalised packages tailored to your business niche, so you can rest assured that we can work on your project, no matter what industry you’re in. Our unique process uses only legitimate SEO practices – no need for shady tactics or black hat techniques!
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For more information about our affordable SEO packages, feel free to contact us today!